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September 23, 2017

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Azarenka, Goerges to meet in Linz final

LINZ, Austria -- Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka reached her ninth final of the season on Saturday and will play Julia Goerges for the title at the Generali Ladies.

In the semifinals, Azarenka beat Irina-Camelia Begu of Romania 6-2, 6-1, and Goerges rallied to defeat Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 1-6, 6-2, 6-3.

"Julia is a very tough opponent," Azarenka said. "She feels well here in Linz and had some very good wins this week. It is a final so everything can happen. I'll have to be at my best."

Azarenka, a winner of five events including the Australian Open this year, is 3-1 against Goerges though she has never dropped a set against the German.

Azarenka's only defeat came in Stuttgart last year when she pulled out with a shoulder injury after winning the opening set. Goerges went on to win that event, the most recent of her two career titles. She also won in Bad Gastein in 2010.

"Obviously I am the underdog, she is the world No. 1," Goerges said. "I will try to play my own game, focus on myself and show her how dangerous my game can be."

Azarenka is on a winning streak of 12 matches, and yet to concede a set. She won in Beijing last week for her 12th career title and pulled out before the quarterfinals at Tokyo the week before. In Linz, she hasn't dropped more than two games in any set.

Early in her semifinal against Begu, Azarenka produced some unusual mistakes and dropped her opening service game before cruising to victory.

"Her tennis was hard to judge, she played many different shots," Azarenka said. "I was playing well, had a few mistakes here and there, but overall it was a good performance."

The 19th-ranked Goerges, who also reached the final in Dubai in February, dropped serve three times and double-faulted on set point against Flipkens. She settled with an early break in the second and dominated the rest of the match.

"She served well so it was hard to get into the match," Goerges said. "I am happy I managed to find my game in the second set and win the match."

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