WTA Diary: Friday, March 23, 2012

Catch up on all the WTA news from the past seven days, including Heather Watson's comeback and Vika's sparring session.

Published March 23, 2012 07:48

WTA Diary: Friday, March 23, 2012
Heather Watson

Every week there's a lot happening on the WTA - on the court, off the court, by the numbers, even a few tweets... catch up on it all in the WTA Diary.

When Heather Watson trailed Sorana Cirstea 5-0 in the final set of their first round match at the Sony Ericsson Open, it looked like her wait for a first main draw victory this year was set to continue. Forty minutes, and two saved match points, later, the Brit had completed the most remarkable of comebacks, reaching the second round with a 63 36 76(4) win.

Welcome Back
Two of the WTA's most popular players made welcome returns to the court this week after being sidelined by illness. Alisa Kleybanova and Venus Williams missed much of 2011 after battling Hodgkin's Lymphoma and Sjogren's Syndrome respectively, but judging by their first round performances it was as if they had never been away; Kleybanova came from a set down to defeat Johanna Larsson, while Williams was even more impressive, brushing aside Kimiko Date-Krumm for the loss of just three games.

Fighting Spirit
Anyone who witnessed Victoria Azarenka's back-from-the-brink win over Mona Barthel in Indian Wells will attest to the World No.1's fighting spirit. And in the build up to Miami her fighting qualities have been on display again, literally; on Wednesday she stepped into the Octagon to learn some mixed martial arts moves from UFC light heavyweight title contender Rashad Evans.

And if you wondered what the rest of the WTA has been up to while Vika was practicing her jab? Well, wonder no more.

Skills To Pay The Bills
Talking of Vika, her performances this year have been drawing plaudits far and wide, the latest coming from Canadian sports channel TSN, who named her at No.5 on its snappily-titled Top 10 Most Skilled Athletes Under 23.

Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend
Also on TSN's list was Caroline Wozniacki's significant other, Rory McIlroy. And it's just as well he's flying high in the world of golf, as earlier this week he splashed out on a diamond bracelet for Caro after losing a no junk food bet.

"He's a very bad liar, so he actually told me straight away afterwards," Wozniacki said. "He was like,'I feel guilty.' I was thinking of making another [bet], because it was too easy. He didn't even last two weeks."

So what was Rory's weakness? His mother's birthday cake.

Award Winners
Caro was not the only WTA star to receive some jewelry this week, though. On Thursday, the ITF unveiled Daniela Hantuchova, Li Na, Sofia Arvidsson and Catalina Castaño as the first four winners of the 2012 Fed Cup by BNP Paribas Heart Award. The players were recognized for their commitment to their national team and each received a silver Baccarat bracelet and a check to be donated to a chosen charity after topping on online poll among fans.

@dhantuchova (Daniela Hantuchova)
Thanks so much for giving me this very special Fed Cup Heart Award. It means more than any trophy I have, since it's coming from you guys :)

@Sofia_Arvidsson (Sofia Arvidsson)
Just found out I won the Fed Cup heart awards.Thanks u so much for the votes!

Quote Of The Week
"I don't know. Maybe that you don't really have to find yourself in the draw anymore. You know, because, well, I'm always at the top!"

Vika enjoys one of the less-celebrated perks of being World No.1.

Rashad Evans, Victoria Azarenka

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