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after his title hopes slipped away. "It's tough losing that match, my first (Grand Slam) quarter-final. I came out expecting nothing less than to win."
The women's contest has been even more up-ended and there was an air of resignation rather than shock when Azarenka tamely followed Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova out of the tournament.
The Belarusian world number two was unbeaten in two years at Melbourne Park but she was comprehensively dismantled by an inspired Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1, 5-7, 6-0.
"I'll be fine tomorrow. I'll be working tomorrow. It's not the end of the world. But I'm not happy with what I did today," said Azarenka.
It ends a sometimes unhappy run of 18 wins at the tournament for Azarenka, whose loud grunting and perceived gamesmanship has earned her critics as well as fans in Melbourne.
But it was a major scalp for Radwanska, who had lost all seven previous meetings with the Belarusian, and now goes into a semi-final with Slovak 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova.
"It's hard to play someone I lost (to) so many times before. I knew she's a great player. Especially here, she was playing amazing tennis," said Radwanska.
The upset also ensures the tournament will have a new women's champion with none of the semi-finalists – Radwanska, Cibulkova, Li Na and Eugenie Bouchard -- having won before.
Cibulkova reached only her second Slam semi-final when she also won against a favoured opponent in fast-rising Romanian Simona Halep.
Halep is set to break the top 10 in next week's new rankings, but she froze in her first Grand Slam quarter-final as the energetic Cibulkova dominated 6-3, 6-0 in one hour exactly.