After taking part in a disappointing, injury-plagued season on the tour, former top-ranked talent Victoria Azarenka will begin her 2015 season at the Brisbane International, where she will contest an opening round match against Karolina Pliskova. The Belarusian leads the head-to-head series 1-0.
The former world No. 1 concluded her 2014 season after withdrawing from the Wuhan Open. She finished her year ranked outside the Top 20 for the first time in seven years after missing seven scheduled events and dealing with a slew of injuries over the year. She also went through a depressing period in her life but is happy to have worked her way out of it.
“I feel great, you know those things you go through in life,” she said. “It is just because you are a public person and sometimes you feel like you don’t want to have it out in the open for people to discuss. You have to find your own way through it and I found my way to be happy regardless of what the situation is.”
As for this season, Azarenka hopes to get off to a strong start like she did last year when she finished runner-up to Serena Williams at the tournament. It was downhill from there but she is determined to make 2015 a different season – starting with a strong performance against Karolina Pliskova on Monday.
World No. 23 Karolina Pliskova had an impressive year on the tour in 2015, where she won two titles and finished with a 54-29 record for the year. She reached the third round of the US Open and the second round of the remaining Grand Slam tournaments, which was an improvement from previous years. She will hope to maintain her upward trajectory in 2015, beginning with a victory over a former world No. 1.
This marks just the second time that these two competitors will cross paths on the professional tour, with Azarenka leading the series 1-0. Not only will be it be difficult to effectively gauge the winner ahead of their first match of the season, it will be particularly difficult with Azarenka, who has not been in a professional tennis match since September.
Prediction: Karolina Pliskova in Three Sets