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Azarenka edges 2011 Open champ Stosur on rainy day

NEW YORK -- Victoria Azarenka kept chiding herself — “Don't be a chicken” — while cobbling together a 6-1, 4-6, 7-6 (5) rain-interrupted win that eliminated defending champion Sam Stosur and put the top-seeded Belarusian in her first semifinal at Flushing Meadows.

Tuesday's win also assured Azarenka of retaining the No. 1 ranking no matter what happens the rest of this week.

“Definitely I don't want to stop. I really want it bad,” Azarenka said about the prospect of adding a second Grand Slam trophy to the one she earned in January at the Australian Open. “I'm going to do absolutely everything I have, you know, to give it all here.”

Because of rain that halted play on and off through the day, Azarenka was the only woman who got to enjoy a singles victory at the U.S. Open on Tuesday. The other women's quarterfinal on the schedule was suspended in progress because of rain, and four-time major champion Maria Sharapova will be trailing 2007 Wimbledon runner-up Marion Bartoli 4-0 when they resume Wednesday.

Sharapova got something of a reprieve from the weather during her previous match: She was down 2-0 in the third set against Nadia Petrova when a rain delay of 75 minutes came: After the break, Sharapova took five of the next six games. She'll get at least 15 hours to contemplate her deficit against Bartoli, who lost all eight sets they had played before Tuesday.

They were allowed to head to their hotels before early because the tournament wanted to free up Arthur Ashe Stadium for the night session and the main event: 2003 U.S. Open champion Andy Roddick's bid to postpone retirement yet again by beating 2009 champ Juan Martin del Potro in the fourth round.

The Roddick-del Potro match was also suspended because of rain and is scheduled to resume Wednesday. Play was halted right after Roddick went ahead 1-0 in a first-set tiebreaker Tuesday night. A little more than a half-hour later, the tournament called off play for the day.

Other matches stopped in progress, also in the first, included defending champion Novak Djokovic against No. 18 Stanislas Wawrinka, and No. 8 Janko Tipsarevic against No. 19 Philipp Kohlschreiber.

No. 4 David Ferrer was up two sets and 4-3 in the third over No. 13 Richard Gasquet when play was halted earlier. After the delay, they traded games, then Ferrer broke Gasquet, closing it out on his fifth match point for a 7-5, 7-6 (2), 6-4 victory.

Earlier, four-time major champion Maria Sharapova's quarterfinal against No. 11 Marion Bartoli was pushed to Wednesday, with Bartoli leading 4-0.

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Victoria Azarenka, of Belarus, reacts after winning her match against Samantha Stosur, of Australia, in the quarterfinals of the 2012 U.S. Open tennis tournament in New York, Tuesday. (AP)

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