After being handed a remarkably difficult draw as an unseeded former champion, Victoria Azarenka has handled the challenge with poise and confidence, and has blasted her way back into Grand Slam form. Her third challenge at the event will come against Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, whom she has met twice previously on the tour and has never dropped a set to take a 2-0 Head to Head lead.
After defeating Sloane Stephens in first round action, Victoria Azarenka, a former champion at this event, came up against the resurgent Caroline Wozniacki, whom she has a storied history against. It proved to be a necessary litmus test for Azarenka, and her straight sets win will likely boost her confidence for the remainder of the event. She defeated her Danish adversary 6-4, 6-2 to close out the match in 1 hour and 38 minutes.
“I think it was a very good match, very high quality,” said Azarenka. “I’m happy with the way I stayed consistent throughout the whole match. I think there’s always things you can improve, but it’s a great progress from one match to another. I just want to keep trying to stay in that path and continue to grow, continue to improve.”
“I wish I would have won,” said Wozniacki. “You can always look back and say, I wish I’d done this, I wish I’d taken this breakpoint, taken advantage at 30-Love. At the end of the day she played better than me today and hats off to that. I just need to go back and work hard. Early, still beginning of the year. So still have 10 months to make up for this. Hopefully it’s still going to be a good year.”
In her second round match against Kai-Chen Chang, Barbora Zahlavova Strycova dominated the proceedings en route to a straight sets victory. She won the match 6-1, 7-5, hitting two aces, 11 winners and 59% of her first service points. The contest lasted a total of 80 minutes.
Of their two previous meetings on the tour, Azarenka holds a 2-0 stranglehold over the series and will be keen to hold onto that lead en route to the later stages of the season-opening Major tournament. She has never dropped more than six games in her matches against Strycova but also has not met her in nearly four years, which could complicate matter slightly.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka in Straight Sets