Victoria Azarenka sets up Simona Halep clash at US Open

Victoria Azarenka eased into the US Open quarter-finals with a straight-sets win over Varvara Lepchenko, setting up a clash against Simona Halep.

The Belarusian 20th seed has enjoyed a relatively comfortable passage in New York so far and it continued with a 6-3 6-4 victory over American Lepchenko.

The former world number one has now reached at least the last eight at Flushing Meadows in four straight years, having been runner-up in 2012 and 2013.

Azarenka broke Lepchenko’s serve five times and hit 19 winners, with victory secured in one hour, 38 minutes.

The two-time Australian Open champion dominated the first set, her serve seeing Lepchenko win just six return points.

Azarenka was tested more in the second set after going behind an early break, but she still saw out a relatively straightforward win.

Her win set up a blockbuster quarter-final against Halep, the Romanian second seed who overcame Sabine Lisicki 6-7 (6-8) 7-5 6-2.

Azarenka and Halep last met in 2012, when the former claimed two easy wins on hard-courts.

Sam Stosur, the 2011 champion, had her campaign ended by Flavia Pennetta as the Italian’s love affair with the year’s final grand slam continued.

For the sixth time in her career, Pennetta is into the last eight at the US Open, her passage through booked with a 6-4 6-4 victory over the Australian.