No. 1 Azarenka suffers first loss of 2012; Venus' return ends
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Thu March 29, 2012
Victoria Azarenka rose to the top of the world rankings after winning January's Australian Open.
- Victoria Azarenka suffers her first loss of 2012 to Marion Bartoli at the Miami Masters
- World No. 1 Azarenka had started the year with a 26-match winning streak
- Polish fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska into the last four after beating Venus Williams
- Two-time Miami champion Kim Clijsters to be sidelined for a month with hip injury
(CNN) -- Women's tennis No. 1 Victoria Azarenka is looking forward to more success despite the end of her perfect start to 2012.
The Belorussian had won 26 successive matches going into Wednesday's Miami Masters quarterfinal -- the best start to a season since Martina Hingis went 37-0 in 1997.
However, the Australian Open champion suffered a shock defeat by French seventh seed Marion Bartoli, who will face world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska in Thursday's semis after the Pole ended the comeback of Venus Williams.
"What I've done in the last couple of months, I have to be really proud of myself," the 22-year-old Azarenka told the tournament's official website after her 6-3 6-3 loss.
"I could have maybe played better today, that's for sure, but I gave it all I had. But Marion played really well today, and she deserves the win. What else can I say? I have to look forward."
Defending champion Azarenka had won eight of her previous 10 meetings with the 2007 Wimbledon runner-up, including January's Sydney International where Bartoli lost despite leading in both sets.
"I was up 5-2 in the first set and 4-1 in the second set, and I lost both," the 27-year-old Bartoli said. "So I knew I had to stay really mentally tough and not show her anything.
Pete Sampras on the state of US tennis
"Even when I lost those three games in a row, I didn't get down on myself -- I had this positive energy. I was able to turn the match around again and step inside the court and play some great points."
Fifth seed Radwanska booked her place in the last four with a commanding 6-4 6-1 win over former world No. 1 Williams, who was playing in her first tournament for seven months.
Seven-time grand slam winner Williams had not played on the WTA Tour since withdrawing from last year's U.S. Open, having been diagnosed with Sjogren's syndrome -- an incurable condition which causes pain in the joints and fatigue.
"I didn't have a good day," said the 31-year-old Williams, who has won the tournament three times andw as runner-up in 2010. "Unfortunately, I just couldn't press the issue. I don't feel like she did anything special. I just couldn't. I couldn't get myself to do it today.
Sampras demonstrates his signature shot
"If I'm not feeling my best, then it becomes mental and I have to fight, and you have to fight and fight and fight. Today I just I didn't conquer it mentally. I have to be there mentally more than the next player."
The winner of the Radwanska-Bartoli evening match will take on either former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki or four-time grand slam winner Maria Sharapova, who meet in Thursday's opening semifinal.
Meanwhile, two-time Miami champion Kim Clijsters is facing four weeks out after injuring her right hip during her third-round defeat to fellow Belgian Yanina Wickmayer.
"The current prognosis is that Kim will have to recover for four weeks first," read a statement on the four-time grand slam winner's website. " As soon as she has returned to Belgium, she will have additional tests."
The 28-year-old is aiming to return at the Madrid Masters in May ahead of the season's second grand slam event, the French Open.
Part of complete coverage on
updated 9:22 AM EDT, Thu May 23, 2013
World No. 2 Maria Sharapova reflects on her chances of repeating last year's French Open success at Roland Garros.
updated 5:39 AM EDT, Tue May 21, 2013
Nicknamed the "kissing disease," mononucleosis or glandular fever is a viral illness that is affecting tennis stars.
updated 7:29 AM EDT, Wed May 1, 2013
She towers above him, but she can't do without him. Meet the man who has made Maria Sharapova the world's wealthiest female athlete.
updated 11:11 AM EDT, Mon April 22, 2013
When Maria Sharapova underwent shoulder surgery five years ago, many thought her tennis career wouldn't last.
updated 8:58 AM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
Nine-year-old Rebecca Suarez stunned onlookers when she was pulled out of the crowd to team up with Del Potro against Nadal.
updated 5:15 PM EDT, Thu April 18, 2013
Janko Tipsarevic is of the belief that his fellow professionals aren't doping -- or at least not on a widespread basis.
updated 10:29 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
Agnieszka and Urszula Radwanska are hoping to take their relationship to a new level by emulating tennis' most famous sisters.
updated 10:02 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
America's 18-time grand slam champion Chris Evert talks to Open Court about her career and training the next generation of players.
updated 9:44 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
CNN's Don Riddell speaks with 11-time grand slam champion Rafael Nadal during one of his comeback tournaments in Mexico.
updated 10:11 AM EDT, Thu March 21, 2013
Germany's veteran star Tommy Haas opens up to Pat Cash about being away from family on tour, and his many injuries.
updated 7:50 AM EDT, Mon March 11, 2013
You'd think John Isner and Nicolas Mahut would be sick of the sight of each other, but their friendship has grown since that epic match.
updated 11:08 AM EST, Mon March 4, 2013
Almost a decade after Andy Roddick's sole U.S. Open victory, America is still waiting for its next male grand slam winner. What's gone wrong?
updated 11:21 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
Open Court's Pat Cash meets American No. 1 John Isner, who experts claim has the potential to win a grand slam.
updated 4:17 AM EST, Mon February 25, 2013
CNN's Pat Cash looks at who the next U.S. grand slam champion might be.
updated 10:45 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
CNN's Patrick Snell looks at how the famous couple is helping groom the next generation of tennis stars.
updated 11:12 AM EST, Thu February 21, 2013
He's "Mac the Mouth" both on and off the court -- one of the most controversial and iconic players in tennis history, and he's still talking up a storm.
updated 6:31 AM EST, Tue January 29, 2013
Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have transformed their careers since discovering a diet secret that is battling for mainstream acceptance.
updated 10:00 AM EST, Mon January 28, 2013
Novak Djokovic knew he was going to be a tennis star from an early age when growing up in war-torn Belgrade.
updated 8:25 AM EST, Thu January 17, 2013
Nine women, a bold proposal and a $1 bill. That was what it took for women's tennis to begin a 40-year journey of self-empowerment.