World Number 2 and 2012 China Open champion Victoria Azarenka (Player Profile) crashed out of the first stage of the 2013 tournament on Monday, her second early exit from a tournament in just one week.
Azarenka blamed her lack of preparation for the event, and her mental fragility after her 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss to Germany’s Andrea Petkovic (Player Profile). The 24-year-old was seen muttering and cursing to herself throughout the match as she committed an uncharacteristic 15 double faults.
Attributing her defeats in last week’s Pan Pacific Open (where she lost to Venus Williams before claiming feeling unwell) and Beijing to her tough schedule, Azarenka admitted “I probably should have taken a longer break and just prepare myself…I don’t feel like I was ready to play,” to reporters, and also said “the preparation wasn’t there enough, so I cannot deny that…It’s just my mistakes for not paying much attention after the US Open, how I managed my time and how I managed my health.”
The match against the 2011 finalist at Beijing’s National Tennis Centre left the Belarusian second seed frustrated, evident in her form on court. There weren’t many glimpses of the form that won Azarenka that title last year, and despite some hints at ascendency during the second set of the match (where she claimed 7 games in a row) the WTA Number 2 looked sluggish against Petkovic.
“In terms of emotions, yeah there was a lot of emotions and frustration that I let myself get into because I wasn’t doing the right thing,” she told reporters after the match, going on to say that her experiments with a new serve and “working it during the tournament….it was just off rhythm.”
43 in the world, Petkovic wasn’t without her own problems during the match, appearing dizzy during the second set and requiring medical attention. The third set saw her regain her composure however, and she was soon serving for the match after Azarenka committed yet another double fault.
The Chinese wildcard Zhang Shuai (who won her first WTA title earlier in September at Guangzhou) has successfully made it through to the second stage, where she will face current tenth seed Roberta Vinci. Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic, Ana Ivanovic, and Bojana Jovanovski also scored a hat trick as all three have made it to the second round.