Victoria Azarenka played her first round match at the Generali Ladies Linz 2012 tournament on Wednesday afternoon against Arantxa Rus of The Netherlands. The Belarusian had just two days to get from Beijing to Linz after lifting the China Open trophy. Despite an easy 6-0 6-2 victory, the world number one certainly got out of bed on the wrong side, as she displayed bad sportsmanship when taking super experienced chair umpire Kerrilyn Cramer to task twice in this match. When leading 5-0 in the first set, the Belarusian challenged a line call which then went in her favour, but Cramer ruled that the point was to be replayed and Azarenka told her loudly for all to hear that “you always kill me. Why do you always have to call my matches?” Nevertheless, she went on to take the first set to love in 24 minutes.
Rus, who had not been playing badly at all but who was being outplayed by a superior and much more experienced opponent, had the spectators on her side when she came out to serve in the first game of the second set – and she raised her game to take five out of the first seven games at least to deuce. Azarenka broke in the first game and held her own serve for 2-0 – eight games in a row against the former junior world number one. Rus eventually got on the scoreboard when she held her own serve to trail 1-2, but Azarenka held again for 3-1 and then broke again for 4-1 after raising another challenge – which she won – on the line closest to umpire Cramer, whereupon she ranted at the umpire for not getting involved and ruling the ball out. Rus held her serve in the 7th game to 2-5 but could not sustain the power hitting of her opponent, who served out for a 6-2 second set.
Azarenka will face Simona Halep of Romania in the second round and it is hoped that her coach will have a word in her ear about her on court behaviour before her next match.
In another first round match, Austrian wild card holder Patricia Mayr-Achleitner upset no.8 seed Sabine Lisicki of Germany after beating her surprisingly easily 6-1 6-3.