Azarenka Returns To Winning Ways

No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka overcame former semifinalist Mirjana Lucic-Baroni at Wimbledon on Monday to win her first match since January. Next up: Bojana Jovanovski.

Published June 23, 2014 12:13

Azarenka Returns To Winning Ways
Victoria Azarenka

LONDON, England - No.8 seed Victoria Azarenka withstood a second set revival from Mirjana Lucic-Baroni to win her first match since January and book her place in the second round of Wimbledon.

The Plot
Last week in Eastbourne, Azarenka completed her first match since Indian Wells, losing a high-quality encounter with the talented Camila Giorgi. The Belarusian had missed much of the first half of the season with a foot injury, dragging her down to No.9 in the rankings - her lowest position since March 2011.

The Turning Point
Azarenka shook off some of the rust against Giorgi and made a fast start against 1999 semifinalist Lucic-Baroni, breaking three times on her way to the first set. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given her lack of time on court, she experienced a slight dip at the start of the second, falling 2-0 behind.

However, her competitive fire more than made up for any slip in quality. At 5-3 down, Azarenka saved a set point with a well-placed forehand, then fended off another three with some gutsy returning in the next game. And Lucic-Baroni was made to pay for her profligacy, Azarenka cranking up the pressure with a love hold before breaking once more to complete a 6-3, 7-5 victory.

"I'm just very happy to be able to play - this is what I love to do," Azarenka said. "It's such a great feeling to play without pain and that's what's important for me at the moment.

"I think getting the game together and the timing is a long process. But the important thing is that I'm there and feeling 100%. My focus is there. My desire and concentration is there. So that's all I can ask for in myself."

What's Next
Azarenka will face Bojana Jovanovski, who defeated Johanna Larsson, 7-6(2), 6-0, next. Their only other meeting also came in the second round at Wimbledon, Azarenka winning in straight sets four years ago.

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