Victoria Azarenka pays tribute to the “fearless” Dominika Cibulkova after being beaten to a spot in the last eight of the Australian Open.

Victoria Azarenka has paid tribute to the “fearless” Dominika Cibulkova after missing out on a place in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open.

The two-time champion battled back to force a third set following a disappointing start, but she was unable to stop Cibulkova from pulling clear in the decider to set up a last-eight clash with Serena Williams.

“She really went for her shots today and was very fearless throughout whole match. She’s the type of player that sometimes you just get – she gets in that groove and it’s a little bit difficult to break that rhythm. But I think I still had my opportunities, and I really just didn’t [take them],” Azarenka told reporters.

“I wasn’t present enough today, and she was there. She jumped on those opportunities and really took control of that. So I think in that aspect, I have to give her a lot of credit.”

Cibulkova is looking to go one better than her 2014 campaign, when she was beaten by Li Na in the final.

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