Azarenka Overcomes Defending Champ

2010 Bank of the West Classic
By Hiland Doolittle, July 31st, 2010
Azarenka Overcomes Defending Champ

Azarenka Overcomes Defending Champ

We may never know what caused Victoria Azarenka’s mid-season slump but there is not question Victoria has her game back. In one of four stirring matches played at Stanford on Friday, the 8th seed pulled herself together and lifted her power game to out-duel the defending champion, Marion Bartoli 3-6, 6-3, 6-3.

Bartoli was cruising along up 6-3, 3-1 before Azarenka put her game in overdrive. Bartoli has never beaten Azarenka but seemed on the verge of moving to the semis, when Azarenka found her punishing forehand and began to move Bartoli across the baseline.

Azarenka has also never lost to top seed Samantha Stosur, who survived a scare of her won against young Belgian Yanina Wickmayer. Stosur and Azarenka will go at it this afternoon in what should be an interesting match-up of power serving against power ground strokes.

Stosur and Wickmayer traded momentum for two hours before Stosur ran off six of the last seven games to win 7-5, 3-6, 6-3. In the final set, Stosur was down 0–2, 15-40, before she suddenly turned on the jets to gain her tour-leading 37th win of the year. The Aussie will have a difficult time turning the tables on Azarenka who enjoys a 3-0 career record against Samantha.

As expected, the match of the day was between fourth seeded Elena Dementieva and fifth seed Maria Sharapova. The two hour 47 minute marathon was tennis at its best. Sharapova’s serve turned out to be the difference in the 6-4, 2-6, 6-3 triumph.

Dementieva blamed her weak serve for the loss but she had numerous chances to win. Sharapova had 15 double faults in the match, but when she needed winners, her serve came through. Her first serve was more than Dementieva could handle. For Sharapova, the win raised her career record to 9-3 against Elena.

Winner Poker

Aggie Radwanska the three seed, seized the momentum against outclassed Maria Kirilenko and ran off the nine straight games to win 7-5, 6-0. Kirilenko was in disbelief at the end of the match. It was as if someone turned out the lights for the Russian who had won twice and lost twice in prior matches with Radwanska.

Radwanska will meet Sharapova in the afternoon match, which will be followed by Stosur and Azarenka.


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