MALLORCA, Spain – No.7 seed Ana Konjuh dropped just four games against former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka to cut her comeback short at the Mallorca Open.
Azarenka delighted fans in Mallorca after scoring a hard-fought win over Risa Ozaki in her first match back after announcing her maternity leave last year. But she didn’t seem to have much left in the tank against the big-hitting youngster, falling 6-1, 6-3 to a dominant Konjuh.
The 19-year-old Croat made good on her reputation for bossing matches from the baseline, bringing out her deep, clean groundstrokes against Azarenka.
Konjuh didn’t allow Azarenka two win a single point in the first two games, firing off winner after winner as the former World No.1 struggled to find her range. Although Azarenka gave more fightback from then on, pushing Konjuh to deuce in four of the next five games, she couldn’t find a way to break through as Konjuh earned a double break lead before taking the opening set.
She continued her imperious form into the second, starting with another early break to keep Azarenka under pressure and trying to catch up. An Azarenka double fault in the fifth game handed Konjuh another break, but Azarenka got it straight back to stay in the contest.
Another flurry of winners handed Konjuh the decisive break in the final game, firing a crosscourt forehand winner plum on the line to end the match and take her spot in the quarterfinals after an hour and 11 minutes.
“I know Azarenka is coming back, but it’s always tough to play against her,” Konjuh said afterwards. “She’s one of the best players in the world. I was motivated for sure, and I’m really glad that I could play so well today and win.”
With the victory, Konjuh is through to her fifth quarterfinal of 2017, and her second straight on grass after a run to the semifinals at the Ricoh Open in ‘s-Hertogenbosch last week. She’ll take on Anastasija Sevastova in the next round for a spot in the Mallorca Open semifinals.