Eastbourne - Former world number one Victoria Azarenka has lost her first match after a
three-month injury layoff to Italy's Camila Giorgi at the ATP-WTA
Eastbourne International on Tuesday.
The two-time Australian Open
champion, who had not played since early March due to a foot injury,
managed to stand the pace for nearly three hours before losing 4-6, 6-3,
7-5 to her 42nd-ranked opponent.
"I wanted a competitive match to
test myself," said an upbeat Azarenka, 24, after the first round tie at
the pre-Wimbledon grasscourt tournament.
"The most important thing was that I was there playing and I was healthy.
can always get better from here. I didn't expect a perfect match, but
there are a lot of positive things that came out. I wanted to test
myself and that's what I did."
The Belarusian rallied from 4-2
down to win the first set but Giorgi, who has already beaten top ten
players Dominika Cibulkova and Maria Sharapova this season, fought back.
Italian, who played a first WTA final this year in Poland, came back in
the second set and won despite nine double-faults after taking a 5-0
lead over Azarenka.
Giorgi, whose father-coach Sergio was going
through every emotion in a dramatic display in the player box, levelled
at a set each as world number eight Azarenka's early confidence appeared
The third set was tight until the seed gave away the
sixth game for 2-4 with a double-fault, only to break back in the tenth
to make it 5-5.
Azarenka was then broken for 5-6, with Giorgi serving out a game later as her opponent's return sailed long on match point.
The Italian next plays 109th-ranked British wild card Johanna Konta, who beat Swiss qualifier Belinda Bencic 6-3, 6-2.
had the desire, it was so important to see where I'm at and what I have
to work on," said Azarenka, a semi-finalist in Wimbledon in 2011 and
"I need to work on timing, reaction and decision-making, things that you miss when you are away for a long time."
seed Flavia Pennetta of Italy advanced into the second round at
Devonshire Park over Hsieh Su-Wei of Taiwan 6-3, 6-3 while American
Lauren Davis knocked out Italy's seventh seed Sara Errani 7-6 (7/5),
Errani's doubles partner Roberta Vinci lost to Slovak Daniela
Hantuchova 7-5, 6-1 while Varvara Lepchenko of the United States
stopped China's Zhang Shuai 5-7, 6-4, 6-1.
In the men's draw, Finn
Jarkko Nieminen began with an upset of seventh seed Santiago Giraldo,
defeating the Colombian 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3 after suffering a leg
problems last week in the Queen's third round.
A French pair
advanced, with Julien Benneteau defeating Taiwan's Lu Yen-Hsun 6-2, 6-4
and Eduardo Roger-Vasselin beating Andrey Kuznetsov 6-3, 6-4.
Results from the second day of the ATP/WTA Eastbourne Open:
Jarkko Nieminen (FIN) bt Santiago Giraldo (COL x7) 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-3
Julien Benneteau (FRA) bt Lu Yen-Hsun (TPE) 6-2, 6-4
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) bt Andrey Kuznetsov (RUS) 6-3, 6-4
Petra Kvitova (CZE x2) bt Lucie Safarova (CZE) 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (7/4)
Madison Keys (USA) bt Jelena Jankovic (SRB x3) 6-3, 6-3
Lauren Davis (USA) bt Sara Errani (ITA x7) 7-6 (7/5), 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS) bt Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 7-5, 6-3
Johanna Konta (GBR) bt Belinda Bencic (SUI) 6-3, 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova (SVK) bt Roberta Vinci (ITA) 7-5, 6-1
Flavia Pennetta (ITA x6) bt Su-Wei Hsieh (TPE) 6-3, 6-3
Varvara Lepchenko (USA) bt Zhang Shuai (CHN) 5-7, 6-4, 6-1
Camila Giorgi (ITA) bt Victoria Azarenka (BLR x4) 4-6, 6-3, 7-5