The 32nd seed at the 2015 edition of the Indian Wells Premier event, two-time Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka, will begin her fortnight in the American desert in a second round match-up against Kirsten Flipkens, a player she has faced twice previously on the professional tour. Azarenka leads the head-to-head series 2-0, including a victory at this event back in 2013.
While she may not have won a title yet this year, Azarenka came close and showed her vast improvement over the past year when she finished runner-up to Lucie Safarova in Doha. Safarova, who held a losing record against Azarenka, snatched an early break against the Belarusian and maintained that lead throughout the remainder of the match to win 6-4, 6-3.
Given the injury plague that she had to overcome in 2014, Azarenka was happy with her showing that week, and hopes to further that development at Indian Wells.
“And there’s been a lot of progress this week. A lot of good things happened, a lot of great matches. There are a lot of things I can take with me and can keep working on – I’m still really motivated. I’m obviously disappointed for losing the final today, but I just have to move on from this quickly.”
Her opponent in the second round, Kirsten Flipkens, reached that stage of the event with a 6-2, 6-4 win over local Shelby Rogers. She struck three aces, won 67% of her 1st service points, and saved eight break points to close out the match in 1 hour and 33 minutes.
This marks the third time that Azarenka and Flipkens will meet on the professional tour, and the first time since a 2013 meeting at this very event. At that event, Azarenka rallied from a set down to beat her Belgian adversary and could possibly face a similar outcome this time around.
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka in Straight Sets