Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will continue her steep upward battle back to top form as she arrives at the Wimbledon championships underprepared and recovering from a serious foot injury that kept her off the tour for several months. Her opening obstacle at the prestigious event is world No. 108 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, whom she met four years ago at this very same stage of the tournament. Azarenka leads the series 1-0.
Following months on the sidelines, Victoria Azarenka made her comeback at Eastbourne, where she faced young Italian Camila Giorgi in the opening round. She would lose that match in a tough 2hour and 46 minute battle that would go three sets and end 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 for Giorgi.
While Azarenka was not victorious in her first match back, it was clearly a positive step for the Belarusian, who fought a tough battle and looked much more relaxed on court than over the past few months.
“I’m pretty pleased with what happened. Obviously the result is the result, but that’s a beginning. It’s a starting point. There are a lot of positive things that I can take from what happened today.
“I was really happy that I was there for every single moment, for every single ball. I felt that my level of concentration was really high. I just have to get into that rhythm.”
World No. 108 Mirjana Lucic-Baroni is currently riding a five-match losing streak, including three consecutive losses since beginning her grass court season. Her last main draw victory took place at Strasbourg, where he defeated Jovanovski before losing to Monica Puig.
Four years ago, Azarenka met Lucic-Baroni in the opening round at SW19 and earned a comfortable 6-3, 6-3 win against the Croatian. While she is coming off a foot injury that has hindered the first half of her 2014 season, the Belarusian should still manage a win on Monday, based solely on her performance against Camila Giorgi at Eastbourne. She may not have gotten the victory that day, but she certainly put up a valiant effort and looked to be at her best since the Australian Open.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka in Straight Sets