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Azarenka triumphs in US Open grudge match as Serena and Venus reunite

Different outlooks: Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka (right) and Marta Kostyuk of Ukraine

NEW YORK: Victoria Azarenka triumphed in a politically-charged grudge match at the US Open on Thursday as Serena and Venus Williams prepared to revive their record-setting doubles partnership for the last time at a Grand Slam.

Azarenka, a former world number one and a two-time major winner, cruised past Marta Kostyuk 6-2, 6-3 in a match dominated in the build-up by bitter exchanges over the conflict in Ukraine.

Last week, Belarusian Azarenka was axed from an exhibition event aimed at raising money for the war-ravaged country.

Ukraine star Kostyuk had refused take part in protest at the presence of Azarenka who she has criticised for a perceived…

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