(January 4, 2013) No. 1 Victoria Azarenka withdrew from her Brisbane International semifinal match-up with Serena Williams with an infected right big toe on Friday. The defending Australian Open champion pulled out about 30 minutes before the match began.
“I tried everything. We tried medication with taping, and I was playing through the pain for quite a while,” said Azarenka. “It’s just something that I had to do to make sure that I can be fully recovered and ready for Australian Open. It’s that sort kind of compromise I had to take.
“It’s just very unfortunate timing, because I was really looking forward to playing and excited.”
Williams can totally relate since she recent had surgery on her toe. “I had that toe problem just a couple weeks ago and it’s painful … it’s so painful,” noted the 15-time major champion. “Doesn’t sound painful, but it is. You can’t walk with that. I hope she gets better fast.”
Williams will face Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in the final.
Top seed Andy Murray advanced to the semifinals with a 6-4, 7-6 (3) win over Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin.
Murray dusted off some of the rust from his three-set opening match and adjusted well to Istomin’s game.
“For the most part it was pretty good quality,” said Murray of his quarterfinal contest. “He served well for the majority of the first set, and especially well at the beginning the second. So I didn’t really have that many chances on returns, so I needed to serve well today. That helped.”
He’ll play fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori of Japan who took out former Brisbane finalist Alexandr Dolgopolov 6-4, 7-6 (3).
The other semifinal will showcase 2006 Australian Open finalist Marcos Baghdatis, who beat third seed Gilles Simon of France 6-3, 6-4 versus Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria, who topped Jurgen Melzer of Austria 6-3, 6-2.
Results – Friday, January 4, 2013
WTA Singles – Semifinals
(3) Serena Williams (USA) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka (BLR) w/o (right toe injury)
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) d. (LL) Lesia Tsurenko (UKR) 46 61 62
WTA Doubles – Semifinals
(4) Groenefeld/Peschke (GER/CZE) d. (1) Errani/Vinci (ITA/ITA) 64 61
ATP Singles – Quarter-finals
 A Murray (GBR) d D Istomin (UZB) 64 76(3)
M Baghdatis (CYP) d  G Simon (FRA) 63 64
 K Nishikori (JPN) d  A Dolgopolov (UKR) 64 76(3)
G Dimitrov (BUL) d  J Melzer (AUT) 63 62
ATP Doubles – Semi-finals
 E Butorac (USA) / P Hanley (AUS) d M Baghdatis (CYP) / J Nieminen (FIN) 62 63
SCHEDULE – SATURDAY, 5 JANUARY, 2013
PAT RAFTER ARENA start 12:00 noon
M Baghdatis (CYP) vs G Dimitrov (BUL) – ATP
 A Murray (GBR) vs  K Nishikori (JPN) – ATP
after suitable rest
G Dimitrov (BUL) / K Nishikori (JPN) vs M Melo (BRA) / T Robredo (ESP) – ATP
Not Before 7:00 PM
 S Williams (USA) vs A Pavlyuchenkova (RUS) – WTA
 A Groenefeld (GER) / K Peschke (CZE) vs B Mattek-Sands (USA) / S Mirza (IND) – WTA