Victoria Azarenka was plagued by injuries in recent seasons. It created a domino effect, too, because the physical problems led to a drop in the rankings, which resulted in either low seedings or no seeding at all in several major tournaments. But the Belarusian has worked her way back up to No. 16 in the world and she has already more than covered her fourth-round Australian Open points from last year, so she is on the way up. Azarenka won a season-opening title in Brisbane earlier this month and she is now 9-0 in 2015 following a quartet of straight-set beatdowns in Melbourne. Two of her sets have been 6-0, three have been 6-1, and two have been 6-2. None has progressed past 6-4. Check out the Azarenka vs Kerber Head to Head stats.
Up next for Azarenka on Tuesday is a seventh career showdown against Angelique Kerber. The German happened to be Azarenka’s victim in the recent Brisbane final, which resulted in a 6-3, 6-1 scoreline. Kerber is a winless 0-6 in the head-to-head series and is 2-12 in total sets.
“I had tough matches against her in the past,” the world No. 6 admitted. “I never won against her. I will (be) looking forward (to) when I play against her to really take my chances–take the next match. It’s a new one; it starts from zero.”
“It’s exciting,” Azarenka added. “I always look forward to [playing] against her. I prepare myself for a very tough match because she’s very solid, very consistent, and an amazing fighter. You have to really go out there and take it from her, because she’s not going to give you anything. You have to really focus and take control.”
There is nothing not to like about the 14th seed’s chances in this one. Head-to-head history is massively in her favor, she has been dominant through four matches, and her success Down Under is well-documented. Azarenka is a two-time champion of this event and has not lost prior to the fourth round since 2008.
Prediction – Azarenka in straight sets