2012 Australian Open: Victoria Azarenka Takes The First Set From Kim Clijsters, 6-4

The first women's semifinal of the 2012 Australian Open started off fairly tame, with both Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka holding serve for the first two games. Clijster's injured ankle looked no worse for wear from the get-go as she moved around freely, staying along the baseline.

Azarenka drew first blood in the third game, breaking Clijster's serve to take the early advantage in the match. It took Azarenka two chances to earn the break point, but she was able to convert while earning the upper-hand in the first set.

In the fourth game, Clijsters took a quick 40-15 advantage, threatening to break Azarenka's serve. But her two break point chances were fruitless as Azarenka recovered to push the game to deuce. A stalemate ensued, with Clijsters earning the advantage multiple times, only to be thwarted each time. After laying down a superb drop shot to earn deuce again, Azarenka ripped a backhand down the line, then capitalized with the advantage, fighting off four break points to take the game and a 3-1 advantage in the set.

Break points continued to be hard to come by as Azarenka and Clijsters held serve, with the former looking more dominant, through the eight game. Azarenka held a 5-3 lead, thanks to her early break, and Clijsters seemed to be battling to stay alive in the set.

In the middle of the ninth game of the match, a bird feather came floating down onto the court in the midst of a rally. We point this out only because it was fitting: Azarenka's grunts were beginning to resemble the sounds a bird may make during an ancient mating ritual. Clijsters took the game despite giving up a 40-0 lead and nearly being broken while the game flopped from deuce to advantage and back again multiple times.

Needing a break to prolong the set, though, Clijsters was unable to mount a serious charge in the 10th game. The fourth game was as close as she would get to a break -- a chance lost -- as Azarenka easily handled the 10th, taking the first set, 6-4.

Follow along with the semifinal matchups of the 2012 Australian Open in this StoryStream. For more on the tournament, visit our tennis hub.

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