An improving Victoria Azarenka takes to the court for her third round match on Saturday, where she will face 20th seed Anastasija Sevastova. Should Azarenka win, a matchup with World No.1 Simona Halep has the potential to be a thrilling affair.
Azarenka continues to make progress in her return, winning two matches in two days to make it this far. Her match against Madison Keys was cut short due to the American’s retirement but Azarenka was thoroughly professional in the 7-6 2-0 ret. win. She had a lot of success again on return, winning over 50% of points there but the serve was once more a liability with the Belarussian hitting 8 double faults. I feel better. “I think I raised my level compared to Indian Wells pretty dramatically. I want to continue to just, you know, improve.” she said afterwards.
Sevastova won her second round match against Alize Cornet in straight sets, backed by a strong performance on return. She broke 6 times in the 7-5 6-4 win, including the penultimate game of both sets. She has the potential to better her career high ranking of 15 with a further run here with all those ranked 12-15 already out of the competition.
Azarenka agrees that matches where she is forced to fight will be good for her, with Sevastova having the game to provide another of those. “Matches like this are very important, you know, in the first set to be down and still be able to find a way to win. Those are the things that brings confidence, brings more, you know, the rhythm, and the competition feel, I would say.” she said. A competitive Victoria Azarenka may well turn into a title contender here, especially if she is still standing at the quarter final stage.
Prediction –Victoria Azarenka in three sets