Victoria Azarenka sets up final clash against Li Na
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"I couldn't breathe. I had chest pains,'' she said. "It was like I was getting a heart attack. After that it wasn't my best but it's important to overcome this little bit of a struggle and win the match.''
In her official post-match news conference – more than an hour after she finished playing _ Azarenka said she felt a need to explain the disparity between the facts as she saw them and her comments immediately after the match.
"I think I just really misunderstood what (the on-court interviewer) asked me because the question was I had few difficulties and why I went off,'' Azarenka said. "I completely thought of a different thing, why I couldn't close out of match, you know, that I had few difficulties.
"So I understand the whole situation right now, but it just really (is a) simple misunderstanding of a question. I guess it was my bad. "
Pressed again to explain her earlier TV comments, Azarenka said: "I did say that. I did say I couldn't breathe. It was locked. That came from my back. "
Stephens didn't think the timing of the medical break had any real impact on the match.
"It's happened before. Last match, match before, I've had people going for medical breaks, going to the bathroom,'' she said. "Didn't affect me. Just another something else that happens.''
The temperature hit 36 Celsius (97 degrees Fahrenheit) during the second women's semifinal, slightly hotter than it had been when Li beat Sharapova to reach the Australian Open final for the second time in three years.
The semifinal started badly for the 25-year-old Russian, serving double-faults to lose the first two points and conceding a break in the first game.
Li was the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final when she lost to Kim Clijsters at Melbourne Park in 2011. She had her breakthrough a few months later when she won the French Open, beating Sharapova in the semifinals along the way.
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