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Morita Sets Up Azarenka Clash

Ayumi Morita went on maximum overdrive against Urszula Radwanska to move through at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia on Wednesday. Next up for the Japanese No.1 is Victoria Azarenka.

Published May 15, 2013 12:00

Morita Sets Up Azarenka Clash
Ayumi Morita

ROME, Italy - Victoria Azarenka made a very impressive start to her Internazionali BNL d'Italia campaign on Wednesday night, firing on all cylinders to defeat Julia Goerges in her opener, 62 60.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Rome all week right here!

The No.3-seeded Azarenka, who just returned to action last week from a two month ankle injury lay-off, was ruthless in just about every department, winning 84% of her first serve points and never facing a break point in the match - she needed just 61 minutes to move smoothly past the German.

"The first match of a tournament is always difficult, so I knew it was important to have my focus and concentration from the start," Azarenka said. "Julia is a very tough player, but my game was really together out there and everything was working for me tonight. I'm very pleased with the victory."

Azarenka's comeback week in Madrid last week was a mixed bag. For being out so long, winning her first match against Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, one of the hottest players on the tour, was quite the accomplishment - but then she lost an up-and-down second round match against Ekaterina Makarova.

"I just need to build up match by match," Azarenka said. "Every player is tough so it's never easy to win matches, but I'm fresh and motivated, and I'm excited to be playing - that's really the main thing.

"I'm just trying to improve every day and I hope to continue this passage."

And on the looming French Open? "I'm not thinking too much about the French Open right now," she said. "It's in the back of my mind, but it's still far away. I'm focusing on my next matches here."

Azarenka Vs Goerges Video: Match Highlights | Azarenka Interview

Awaiting Azarenka in the third round is Ayumi Morita, who went on overdrive from 0-2 in the first set against Urszula Radwanska, winning 12 of the next 14 games to storm past the Pole, 63 61.

"I think I played very well today," Morita said. "I've played her before a few times and she's always tough, and she was playing very well here - she beat Ivanovic in the first round. So I knew I had to be ready for that and play my best on the court, and I'm very happy I could win the match today."

Azarenka has beaten Morita in both of their previous meetings.

"It's going to be a tough match again, of course," Morita commented. "I'll try my best but it will be tough. But I'm happy with how I'm playing here and I'm just looking forward to another match now."

Morita is the only player left who hits two hands both sides. At No.45 she is the fourth-highest-ranked player with that style, after No.14 Marion Bartoli, No.38 Peng Shuai and No.41 Hsieh Su-Wei.

There is one dubious stat she hopes to overturn on Thursday, though - though she has a slew of wins against players in the No.11 to No.20 range, she is 0-20 lifetime against Top 10 players, winning sets in only two of those matches (she extended Bartoli to three sets at Miami and Tokyo in 2011).

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