LONDON, UK - Victoria Azarenka roared back after a slow start to dismiss Ajla Tomljanovic 6-2, 6-0 in one of the most impressive performances of Wimbledon 2019 so far, rattling off 12 straight games to complete a 'hidden double bagel' in one hour and three minutes.
The former World No.1 has not lost to an opponent outside the Top 25 since falling to Sofia Kenin in the Acapulco quarterfinals in February, and once she found her range today rarely looked in danger of breaking that streak against the World No.49. That took a couple of games, with Azarenka's forehand misfiring to fall behind 0-2 - but the Australian immediately beckoned her back into the match with a brace of double faults, and Azarenka needed little encouragement to seize her opportunity with a trademark huge return.
That game would foreshadow the rest of the match. Tomljanovic struggled mightily with her serve, landing only 49% of her first deliveries and committing five double faults in total. By contrast, Azarenka had the kind of security when she stepped up to the line brought about by an 77% first serve percentage, and swung freely from the baseline to put the Hua Hin runner-up under constant pressure.
Consequently, from 0-2 down Azarenka would reel off 12 consecutive games as she elevated her game higher and higher. The 2011 and 2012 Wimbledon semifinalist was not just impervious off the ground but sharp at net, wrapping up the first set with a reflexed stab volley, and tenacious on big points.
The middle of the second set found Tomljanovic, whose backhand had been leaking errors, gather herself somewhat to make life a bit harder for Azarenka. But the two-time Australian Open champion was able to find a new level to extend her lead every time. Tomljanovic would hold two game points and stave off four break points in the third game - but Azarenka snatched her fifth with a smash. In the fourth game, Azarenka saved two break points, one with a pinpoint high drive volley in the corner, before conjuring up a spectacular spinning volley and some devilish slice to hold. In the fifth game, even a 40-0 lead and five game points weren't a safe lead for Tomljanovic; hungry for every point, Azarenka delivered some blistering off backhand winners and pugnacious defence to break yet again.
Serving out her second victory in as many meetings with Tomljanovic was a drama-free affair, with a service winner sealing the win on Azarenka's second match point and setting up a third-round clash against either No.7 seed Simona Halep or Mihaela Buzarnescu.