Azarenka Wins, Second Round Ends

Who did Victoria Azarenka say was brave? What did Sloane Stephens describe as crazy ridiculous? The second round wrapped up on a wild, dramatic day at the Australian Open on Thursday.

Published January 16, 2014 12:15

Azarenka Wins, Second Round Ends
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, Victoria Azarenka

MELBOURNE, Australia - After some wild weather - extreme heat earlier in the day then sudden rain later on - the second round wrapped up in Melbourne, with Victoria Azarenka among the winners.

After storming out to a 61 31 lead, the No.2-seeded Azarenka watched as Barbora Zahlavova Strycova caught up to 3-all, and then 4-all - but it was to no avail as Azarenka calmly closed it out, 61 64.

"There was a moment when I think I just dropped my intensity a little bit and was watching her a little bit too much," Azarenka said. "She obviously played amazing defense today, getting a lot of balls back. But I'm glad I could just turn it around in the end and get back to how I was playing in the first set."

Zahlavova Strycova wowed the crowds with almost 30 net approaches - and winning almost two thirds.

"She's a very tricky player and can do a lot of things," Azarenka said. "I felt like she was really brave out there - she even came to the net with a second serve. She went for her shots. Sometimes it was surprising, but I realized I just had to be alert on every point because you don't know what's coming."

Other players winning through later on in the day included No.8 seed Jelena Jankovic, who rolled past Ayumi Morita, 62 60, and No.13 seed Sloane Stephens, who won a see-saw with Ajla Tomljanovic, 36 62 75. Stephens won seven games in a row from 36 22 to build a 36 62 30 lead, then the rain fell and Tomljanovic won five games in a row upon resumption, but then Stephens won four games to end it.

"I think it was scary, because we were playing through the lightning when it was like 2-0, or the 1-0 game," Stephens said afterwards. "It was lightning like crazy ridiculous. It was intense. Like that's the worst thing, to be outside when it's lightning, or to be in the middle of the ocean like by yourself."

Stephens has a knack for pulling out dramatic matches - she was asked about that in her presser.

"I like to keep it interesting," she said. "Obviously I don't like to sleep because I like going home super late. I do my best. Sometimes it's in a roundabout way, but I get there in the end. That's good.

"Now that I'm young I can handle the excitement - when I'm 25, I'd rather be like, 'Let's go home.'"

Other winners included No.3 seed Maria Sharapova, who battled three hours and 28 minutes to beat Karin Knapp in the longest match of the tournament, 63 46 108; No.5 seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who rallied from 4-2 down in the second set to beat Olga Govortsova, 60 75; No.10 seed Caroline Wozniacki, who won a streaky match against Christina McHale, 60 16 62; No.11 seed Simona Halep, who won 11 games in a row at one point to beat Varvara Lepchenko, 46 60 61; and No.16 seed Carla Suárez Navarro, who rallied from 5-2 down in the third to beat Galina Voskoboeva, 76(2) 36 86.

Read more about Sharapova's win here, Radwanska's win here and Wozniacki's win here.

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