Azarenka advances safely

2014-06-23 18:20
Victoria Azarenka (AFP)

London - Former world number one Victoria Azarenka won her first match since January's Australian Open on Monday, beating Croatia's Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3 7-5 in Wimbledon's first round.

The eighth-seeded Belarusian had played only twice in the last six months because of an injury to her left foot.

"I'm so happy to get the win -- it's been a long time since I had that feeling," the 24-year-old told the BBC as she came off court.

Azarenka lost to Italian Camila Giorgi in the first round at Eastbourne last week but the three-set defeat did offer some invaluable grasscourt practice.

On Monday she looked comfortable in the first set against the 108th-ranked Croat, finding the lines with her powerful groundstrokes on both sides of the court.

Lucic-Baroni, 32, whose best performance at Wimbledon was a semi-final appearance 15 years ago, could not keep up, producing a string of errors in her attempts at winners.

Azarenka, letting rip her trademark wail of effort with every shot, had a characteristic lapse of concentration in the sixth game of the first set, dropping her serve with two double faults.

But breaks of the speedy Lucic-Baroni serve in the third, fifth and ninth games of the set saw her past the first hurdle.

The experienced Croat regained her composure in the second set, giving Azarenka a good baseline workout and exposing the rustiness of her opponent's months out of the game.

"The second set was a bit tricky," Azarenka said.

"My game was a little up and down but I'm happy I stayed in there and fought for every point."

The Belarusian, Australian Open champion in 2012 and 2013, vented her frustration, thumping her racket on the ground and admonishing herself for more double faults.

But, with iron will, she saved a string of set points in the second set and kept her cool when a sick ball girl had to be led from the court in the final game of the match.

Lucic-Baroni valiantly resisted match points on her own serve but eventually crumbled in the face of Azarenka's power and resolve to send a ball long and concede the encounter in just over an hour and a half.

Wimbledon results on Monday, the first day of the 2014 championships at the All England Club (x denotes seeded player):


First round
Radek Stepanek (CZE) bt Pablo Cuevas (URU) 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
Gilles Simon (FRA) bt Konstantin Kravchuk (RUS) 6-2, 7-6 (7/4), 7-5
Mikhail Youzhny (RUS x17) bt James Ward (GBR) 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
Jimmy Wang (TPE) bt Alejandro Gonzlez (COL) 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
Ernests Gulbis (LAT x12) bt Jurgen Zopp (EST) 7-6 (9/7), 7-5, 7-6 (12/10)
Sergiy Stakhovsky (UKR) bt Carlos Berlocq (ARG) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Jrmy Chardy (FRA) bt Daniel Cox (GBR) 6-2, 7-6 (7/3), 6-7 (6/8), 6-3
Marinko Matosevic (AUS) bt Fernando Verdasco (ESP x18) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Bernard Tomic (AUS) bt Evgeny Donskoy (RUS) 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Tomas Berdych (CZE x6) bt Victor Hanescu (ROM) 6-7 (5/7), 6-1, 6-4, 6-3
Andy Murray (GBR x3) bt David Goffin (BEL) 6-1, 6-4, 7-5
Blaz Rola (SLO) bt Pablo Andjar (ESP) 6-3, 6-1, 6-4
Kevin Anderson (RSA x20) bt Aljaz Bedene (SLO) 6-3, 7-5, 6-2
Edouard Roger-Vasselin (FRA) bt Filippo Volandri (ITA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-2, 6-4
Tim Puetz (GER) bt Teimuraz Gabashvili (RUS) 2-6, 6-4, 6-2, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (BUL x11) bt Ryan Harrison (USA) 7-6 (7/1), 6-3, 6-2
Leonardo Mayer (ARG) bt Andreas Seppi (ITA x25) 6-3, 2-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-4
Marcos Baghdatis (CYP) bt Dustin Brown (GER) 6-4, 7-5, 2-6, 7-6 (7/4)


First round
Victoria Azarenka (BLR x8) bt Mirjana Lucic-Baroni (CRO) 6-3, 7-5
Bojana Jovanovski (SRB) bt Johanna Larsson (SWE) 7-6 (7/2), 6-0
Lucie Safarova (CZE x23) bt Julia Goerges (GER) 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3)
Polona Hercog (SLO) bt Paula Ormaechea (ARG) 6-4, 6-4
Misaki Doi (JPN) bt Elina Svitolina (UKR) 6-4, 6-1
Ekaterina Makarova (RUS x22) bt Kimiko Date Krumm (JPN) 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
Jarmila Gadjdosova (AUS) bt Stefanie Vegele (SUI) 6-3, 7-6 (8/6)
Mona Barthel (GER) bt Romina Oprandi (SUI) 7-5, 6-0
Kurumi Nara (JPN) bt Anna-Lena Friedsam (GER) 6-4, 6-4
Venus Williams (USA x30) bt Mara Teresa Torr-Flor (ESP) 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Maria Kirilenko (RUS) bt Sloane Stephens (USA x18) 6-2, 7-6 (8/6)
Peng Shuai (CHN) bt Johanna Konta (GBR) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Lauren Davis (USA) bt Alisa Kleybanova (RUS) 6-1, 6-2
Ana Konjuh (CRO) bt Marina Erakovic (NZL) 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Yanina Wickmayer (BEL) bt Samantha Stosur (AUS x17) 6-3, 6-4
Elena Vesnina (RUS x32) bt Patricia Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) 6-0, 6-4
Barbora Zhlavov Strcov (CZE) bt Alla Kudryavtseva (RUS) 6-2, 6-2
Yvonne Meusburger (AUT) bt Vania King (USA) 7-5, 6-3
Li Na (CHN x2) bt Paula Kania (POL) 7-5, 6-2

Read more on:    atp tour  |  wimbledon  |  victoria azarenka  |  tennis

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