Azarenka Makes Winning Start in Stuttgart
Published April 27, 2009 12:00
STUTTGART, Germany - The main draw of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix began Monday with a match between two of the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour's brightest and most successful young talents, as Victoria Azarenka continued her win streak with a 61 64 victory over Carla Suárez Navarro.
Azarenka, who has won three titles this year - at International events in Brisbane and Memphis and at the prestigious Premier event in Miami - took complete control in the first set and hung on in the second against one of the toughest clay courters around, winning her 24th main draw match of the year (trailing Caroline Wozniacki and Elena Dementieva, who have 27 and 26).
This is the second Porsche Tennis Grand Prix appearance for Azarenka, who reached the semifinals when the event was held on indoor hardcourts last fall. She beat two Top 10 players in a row - including Dementieva - before losing to Nadia Petrova, who in turn succumbed to Jelena Jankovic in the final.
Fifteen of the world's Top 20 players are in Stuttgart, including the new world No.1, Dinara Safina. Safina rose to No.1 on April 20, displacing Serena Williams to become just the second Russian in Tour history to attain the No.1 ranking, after Maria Sharapova, who has had 17 career weeks there. This will be Safina's first appearance as the world's No.1 in her second week at the top spot.
Top seed Safina, second seed Dementieva, seventh seed Wozniacki and eighth seed Agnieszka Radwanska are all in action on Day 2, with the rest of the seeds - Jankovic, Svetlana Kuznetsova and Petrova, No.3, No.5 and No.6, respectively, playing their first round matches on Wednesday.