Victoria Azarenka looks to keep her good run of form going on Wednesday when she takes on Anna Karolina Schmiedlova for a spot in the third round of the French Open. Despite the Belarussian never really excelling on clay, she is considered as one of the top five favourites to take the title a week on Saturday.
Azarenka blitzed Danka Kovinic for just the loss of three games in round one but it was her complaints on the cold and wet conditions early on that became the story of the match. “When I was warming up it was already drizzling. So when it drizzles for about two hours in a row, it kind of gets a little heavier… It’s very tricky at the moment to have these conditions,” Azarenka said after the match. “We talked with the supervisor. She was very kind to let us know that there was another heavier cloud to go by, [and] once that passes, we’re going to go on the court, so we were ready to play whenever they called us.”
Schmiedlova’s favoured surface is clay but that has not translated into too many deep runs in Paris. She was two points from beating Naomi Osaka last year before eventually falling to defeat. The Slovakian pulled off a good win against Venus Williams in round one, eventually nullifying the threat of Venus’ power even if her best days are long gone – even on clay.
Azarenka’s concerns over the conditions puts into doubt over how she may cope as the tournament goes on and things get worse. Whether Schmiedlova is the appropriate player to get under her skin is doubtful though. Azarenka should fancy her chances to ease through this one too with Yulia Putintseva likely waiting in round three.
Prediction – Victoria Azarenka in straight sets