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Robson Beats Radwanska, Azarenka Back

Laura Robson stunned Agnieszka Radwanska for her first Top 5 win. Victoria Azarenka won a very tight two-setter against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her first match back from an ankle injury.

Published May 06, 2013 12:00

Robson Beats Radwanska, Azarenka Back
Laura Robson

MADRID, Spain - Victoria Azarenka made a winning return to the courts at the Mutua Madrid Open on Monday night, edging Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in her first match back after almost two months out.

Click here to watch video highlights and more from Madrid, all week!

Azarenka knew it was going to be a difficult opening match for two big reasons: she had been out of action since early March due to an ankle injury, and Pavlyuchenkova had been gathering some major steam in that time, winning a pair of WTA titles at Monterrey in April and Oeiras just last week.

The No.3-seeded Belarusian was ready, though, and dug deep to beat Pavlyuchenkova in a very tight straight-setter, 76(8) 76(3). The first set could have gone either way, with Pavlyuchenkova holding triple set point at 6-3 in the tie-break and Azarenka needing nine set points of her own to close it out; the second set could have gone either way too, actually, with Pavlyuchenkova getting to triple set point again serving at 6-5, 40-0. Azarenka got the win in the end, though, improving to 18-0 on the year.

"There were a lot of ups and downs - when you don't play so much, you kind of lose how to feel that momentum in the match," Azarenka said. "Sometimes I was waiting for her mistakes too much, and she's obviously not going to do that, so I really had to take the opportunities in my hands and make it.

"It worked out well for me when I just tried to play my game."

Azarenka actually looked headed for a simpler win in the second set, originally building a 5-2 lead - but again, she ended up having to close Pavlyuchenkova out in a tie-break. "I was just playing a little bit stupid, I think, and she definitely got loose and nothing to lose," Azarenka said. "I kind of got lost in what I was doing and made some easy mistakes and didn't do much with it. But it happens after a long break from playing. You need to feel the competition. I'm glad I stayed tough in the end of the match.

"Honestly, I don't think I could have asked for a better match to start with after a break. There was everything there. A lot of ups and downs and a lot of fighting. Obviously she's playing well right now, she just won a tournament, and it's just a great test for me for my first match back from injury."

Pavlyuchenkova had beaten Top 3 players four times before, in fact all of them were World No.3s at the time - three times in 2009 (Jelena Jankovic at Indian Wells, then Venus Williams in back-to-back weeks at Tokyo and Beijing) and most recently once in 2011 (Vera Zvonareva at the French Open).

Azarenka Vs Pavlyuchenkova Video: Match Highlights

The first three second round matches were also on the schedule, with one of them producing a very big upset - Agnieszka Radwanska and Laura Robson were on serve at 3-all in the first set when Robson completely took over, winning nine of the next 10 games to send the No.4 seed packing, 63 61.

Robson's win over the World No.4 was her first Top 5 win and third Top 10 win, following victories over a pair of No.8s, Li Na (at the 2012 US Open) and Petra Kvitova (at the 2013 Australian Open).

Robson Vs Radwanska Video: Match Highlights

Sara Errani, the No.7 seed this week, had some trouble of her own but made it through, just edging Sorana Cirstea, 75 26 64. Errani looked headed for a straight set win as she built a 75 20 lead, but Cirstea reeled off six games in a row to run away with the second set. The two players were on serve through 4-all in the second set when Errani snuck a break out and subsequently served it out.

Errani Vs Cirstea Video: Match Highlights

The only other match saw No.6 seed Angelique Kerber beat Alizé Cornet in straight sets, 64 62.

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