Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka will be faced with a tough contest in her opening match-up at the Rogers Cup, as she goes up against French No. 1 Alize Cornet for the third time on the professional tour. While Azarenka leads the head-to-head series 2-0, she is yet to regain her peak form and could struggle against an inspired Cornet. This could make for an exciting battle on Stadium Court.
The world No. 11, 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.
Azarenka showed some positive signs last week in Stanford, where she appeared to be moving freely against Venus Williams but was ultimately failed to secure the victory. It was a promising showing but the loss dropped the Belarusian outside the Top 10. She holds a winning record of 8-6 this season despite the injury plague but it yet to string together back-to-back wins since the Australian Open.
Unlike her opponent who was offered a bye into the second of the tournament, Alize Cornet played on the opening day of main draw action against America’s Lauren Davis, whom she defeated in straight sets. Although the match did not go to a decider, Cornet was not handed an easy contest and struggled for her 6-3, 7-5 win in a match that took over two hours.
This marks the third time these two competitors will meet on the WTA tour, with Azarenka leading the series 2-0. This meeting will likely be a more competitive affair, based off Cornet’s recent results and Azarenka’s plague of injuries. While Azarenka could squeeze her way past Cornet, it will likely be a competitive encounter for the Montreal crowd.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka in Three Sets