LINZ, Austria - World No.1 Victoria Azarenka got her Generali Ladies Linz campaign off to a flying start Wednesday, reaching the second round of the International-level event with a crushing 60 62 win over Arantxa Rus.
Azarenka won the first eight games of the match and barely looked back after that, finishing off the World No.69 in just 65 minutes, and claiming her WTA-leading 63rd match win of an absolute breakthrough year that has included five WTA titles - including a very big one in Beijing just a few days ago.
"Maybe it didn't show that way on the court, but I'm definitely feeling the jetlag right now!" Azarenka said. "But I adjusted and felt comfortable in the conditions today, which was surprising for me. I didn't expect to play the perfect match today, even though after the first set I felt that it was happening to me."
Azarenka was asked what motivated her to keep playing after such a big win in Beijing just three days ago. "Linz has been an incredible tournament the last few years," she said. "Looking at the names who have won this title, it's an honor to be here and to play. The motivation is big. I would like to get the trophy. I like to play tennis, I like to win, and I want to keep the momentum going.
"Nothing can replace the feeling of winning matches and tournaments."
Joining the No.1 seed in the second round was No.2 seed Ana Ivanovic, who had a tougher day against World No.70 Monica Niculescu, rallying from a break down to take the first set and eventually grinding out a 75 63 win.
Ivanovic, a former World No.1 currently ranked No.12 in the world, is playing the Generali Ladies Linz for the fifth time and is now a sparkling 15-2 at the event, reaching the semifinals in 2005 (losing to Patty Schnyder), the quarterfinals in 2006 (losing to Maria Sharapova) and winning the title in 2008 and 2010.
In the last first round match of the week, Austrian wildcard Patricia Mayr-Achleitner outrallied No.8 seed Sabine Lisicki in straight sets, 61 63 - her win over the World No.25 was her first career win over a Top 30 player.
The second round kicked off as well, with No.5 seed Julia Goerges going nine for nine on service games to take out Romina Oprandi, 63 63, and Sofia Arvidsson edging Lucie Hradecka in a tight two-setter at night, 64 76(4).