Now 8-0 since the tour returned, Victoria Azarenka looks to continue her impressive form against Karolina Muchova. The two time US Open finalist seems a different player after lockdown, no longer burdening herself with such pressure and high expectations. A semi-final or better is definitely a possibility with Sofia Kenin a beatable opponent for Azarenka should she advance from this one.
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Along with Petra Kvitova, Muchova will look to continue flying the Czech flag into the second week of the tournament. Muchova’s aggressive brand of tennis has served her well for the most part but she had a lucky escape in round three, winning a tight one despite hitting 37 unforced errors against Sorana Cirstea. She saved three match points in the deciding set tiebreak of 6-3 2-6 7-6(7) win against the Romanian.
Aside from a somewhat shaky 6 double faults, there will have been little to complain about for Azarenka in her win over Iga Swiatek. The highly rated Pole is a dangerous player on her day but Azarenka nullifying the offensive threat for large parts in the 6-4 6-2 win. Once she fought back from an early 0-2 deficit, it was mostly Azarenka’s to lose against an opponent who began to take more risks to her detriment. “I feel like a quick turnaround of this tournament being in one place, it’s a pretty good advantage I would say for me. I’m playing a lot of matches, kind of getting better and better from one match to another.”
Having dispatched of two aggressive players with the minimum of fuss, it seems likely that Azarenka should be heavily favoured to win this one. The Belarusian seems in a much better place mentally and that has shown in her tennis this past fortnight. Muchova will not be able to get away with an error prone performance in this one and could be off the court very quickly if her opponent’s wins against Sabalenka and Swiatek are anything to go by.
Prediction – Victoria Azarenka in straight sets