Azarenka Beats Hantuchova, Bartoli Rallies

Victoria Azarenka beat this year's grass court leader. Marion Bartoli fended off three match points to advance.

Published June 24, 2011 12:00

Azarenka Beats Hantuchova, Bartoli Rallies
Victoria Azarenka, Daniela Hantuchova

LONDON, England - In a match between two of the most in-form players at the moment, Victoria Azarenka got past Daniela Hantuchova in a tough one on Centre Court on Friday, beating the Slovak for the first time in three meetings.

Azarenka, the No.4 seed, had lost to the No.25-seeded Hantuchova on the hardcourts of San Diego in 2007 and Doha this year, and with Hantuchova having won 15 of her last 19 matches, the odds looked pretty stacked against her. After splitting sets, Azarenka and Hantuchova were on serve early in the third, but the skies opened up with Hantuchova serving 1-2, 30-all - upon resumption, Azarenka managed to pull away for a 63 36 62 third round victory.

"Daniela is in very good form right now," Azarenka commented after the match. "It was a tough battle with some great rallies. She also served really well. I had to stay tough and composed, and of course I had to keep fighting."

The rain delay seemed to swing the momentum in one direction. "I came out very focused again and that was the most important thing," she added. "I thought the conditions stayed pretty much the same, but of course there's no wind with the roof, and the sound is much different. I'm happy I got through."

Next up for Azarenka will be Nadia Petrova. Their series is tied, 2-2.

The biggest comeback of the day went to No.9 seed Marion Bartoli, who fought off three match points - two down 64 53 and another down 64 54 - to beat Spanish veteran Lourdes Domínguez Lino, 46 75 62, in one of the second round matches that were postponed from the previous day by rain.

Later in the day, No.6 seed Francesca Schiavone and Tamira Paszek's third round match was suspended with Paszek leading 3-2 in the third due to rain.

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