World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka started her 2014 season with some much needed momentum, as she topped top star Serena Williams 7-5, 6-3 in a Thailand Exhibition on Saturday. Azarenka, who suffered through an injury-plagued season in 2013, is anticipating a strong start to the season after her showing on court today.
“It’s a great warm up before going to compete and start the year,” Azarenka told reporters. “It’s always really fun because we take each other to the limit.”
Asked whether the pair would meet again in the Australian Open final, she replied: “That’s what we’re going to really work hard for.”
Azarenka suffered a knee injury during the Wimbledon Championships and would later battle with lower back issues that would force her out of the WTA Championships in Istanbul. Her injury-riddled season impacted her competitiveness with Serena, as she only three titles on the tour this season (to Williams’s eleven) and holds a 2-2 head-to-head record agains the American in 2013, including a loss in the US Open final last September.
Williams, who arrived in Thailand a day later than Azarenka, was clearly jet-lagged and subsequently shrugged off the loss, saying that the match was a strong performance from the two top stars and a sign for their future contests this year.
“We had a really good match. We had a lot of moving and I think it was a really good warm up for us in the future,” Williams said,
The top two females will begin their respective seasons at the Brisbane International, which takes place between December 29-January 5 at the Queensland Tennis Centre.