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Page last updated at 16:23 GMT, Wednesday, 20 October 2010 17:23 UK

Victoria Azarenka secures WTA Tour final place

Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka was far from her best against Petkovic

Victoria Azarenka has clinched her place in next week's season-ending WTA Tour Championships for the second year in a row.

The Belarussian world number 10 achieved the feat by beating Andrea Petkovic in three sets to reach the second round of the Kremlin Cup.

Azarenka, 21, will replace Serena Williams in the event which starts on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.

Williams withdrew on Tuesday because of a re-torn tendon in her right foot.

Azarenka and Li Na of China were the two substitutes for the tournament, but Li, who was five points ahead of Azarenka in the standings, lost in the first round in Moscow and will remain top substitute.

Caroline Wozniacki
Vera Zvonareva
Kim Clijsters
Samantha Stosur
Francesca Schiavone
Jelena Jankovic
Elena Dementieva
Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka, who won the last five games of the match to beat Petkovic 6-4 2-6 6-1, said afterwards: "My nerves were right on the edge.

"Every player wants to play in Doha and I'm happy I turned the match my way in the third set."

The men's tournament lost three of its leading players after Russian defending champion Mikhail Youzhny pulled out with a virus after losing a doubles match while top seed Nikolay Davydenko and eighth seed Janko Tipsaravic were knocked out.

Davydenko was shocked 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) by Pablo Cuevas of Uruguay while Tipsaravic, who struggled with pain in his lower back, was upset by Horacio Zeballos of Argentina 4-6 6-4 6-3.

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see also
Serena confirms end of her season
19 Oct 10 |  Tennis
Azarenka collapses during match
01 Sep 10 |  Tennis

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