The second round of the Bank of the West Classic will feature a compelling match-up between two former top ranked competitors in Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams. This is the fourth time that the two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour with the Venus leading the head-to-head series 3-0.
Azarenka, who is still recovering from a left foot injury that was responsible for her three-month banishment on the sidelines, returned to action at the start of the grass court season, where she lost in the second round of the Wimbledon Championships to No. 45 Bojana Jovanovski. Prior to that, she lost her only match at Eastbourne to Camilla Giorgi. She holds a decent winning record of 8-5 this season despite the injury plague but it yet to string together back-to-back wins since the Australian Open.
The Belarusian star is in quite a dilemma heading into the US Open Series. Ranked at No. 10 in the world, Azarenka has quite a lot of points to defend on the draw in the next month and will need to perform at a remarkably high standard to remain in the Top 10 by September. She reached the final in Carlsbad last season, won in Cincinnati and reached the final of the US Open.
Williams opened up her campaign in Stanford with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Paula Kania. The match lasted a little over 70 minutes and saw Williams hit 7 aces and save all five of the break points she faced during the encounter. It was a clean, comfortable win for the American.
This marks the fourth time these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour and Azarenka is yet to find her first win against her fellow former Grand Slam champion. Apart from being unable to figure out the Venus puzzle, Azarenka is get to regain her peak form on the tour and has not had the necessary preparation to compete against a resurging Williams.
Prediction: Venus Williams in Three Sets