A lingering foot injury has wrecked much of Azarenka's season and caused her to slip to No.17 in the rankings. This is her lowest position since 2010, but some improved performances and the exit of several leading seeds have raised the possibility of another deep run for the Belarusian in New York.
The Turning Point
Fifty minutes was all it took for Azarenka to wrap up a 6-1, 6-1 victory in front of an appreciative Grandstand crowd. Hitting the ball with a ferocity and precision not seen since her run to the final 12 months ago, Azarenka was in control from first point until last.
An early break set her on her way and, aside from a brief bit of bother on serve a few games later, it was one-way traffic from then on. The former World No.1 looked in no mood to waste time, wrapping up the first set when Vesnina sent a backhand long. The second did not last much longer, Azarenka continuing her relentless baseline assault, a brilliant forehand return helping her into a 2-0 lead.
With Vesnina's self-belief rapidly fading, the finishing line hurtled into view, Azarenka closing out the match after just 57 minutes with a big serve out wide.
"I think it was a good progression today," Azarenka said. "I want to keep thinking my best is still to come. I stayed aggressive and played well in the important moments."
"I have no idea about my next match - I've never played her," Azarenka added. "I just want to enjoy this moment and get ready to play my game."