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."
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.
Thank u everyone for the support. Great to be back playing @Wimbledon