WTA Rome: Azarenka beats V. Williams in the 1st round, Halep qualifies for the round of 16

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Victoria Azarenka is hungry for tennis. Unhappy finalist of the US Open last Saturday, the Belarusian did not have time to mull over her disappointment. Already back on court four days later after crossing the Atlantic, she overcame fatigue and managed the hard-clay transition remarkably well to dominate Venus Williams (7-6, 6-2) in 2:01 hours of play in the first round in Rome on Wednesday. Back in the top 20 in 14th place, Azarenka has a date with Sofia Kenin in the second round.

At 31, Victoria Azarenka seems to be starting a second career and she has no time to waste. If beating Venus Williams, now 70th player in the world, is no longer necessarily a feat for her, the Belarusian had still lost 6 of their 8 duels on the circuit so far, including the last one in Lexington in August for the resumption. of the circuit. She therefore managed to take a nice revenge in a match where everything was played in the first set.

The WTA didn’t help Azarenka

From the outset, the color was announced: Azarenka battled 9 minutes to achieve the first break of the game, before the eldest of the Williams sisters (40 years) did not catch up again (from 3-0 to 3-3 ). Not at all embarrassed by the passage on ocher, Azarenka took to the sea, but was unbreaker while she was serving for the set at 5-3. The trend was then reversed, Venus scoring 3 games in a row to serve in turn and tackle the lead, without succeeding. And it is indeed “Vika” who snatched a fierce and unbreathable tie-break 9 points to 7, then accelerated in the second set to win.

Unlike the ATP, the WTA did not allow the semi-finalists of the US Open who would possibly want to go to Rome to be exempted from the first round. Azarenka therefore does not have the “luck” of Pablo Carreno Busta who will enter the running directly in the second round against Rafael Nadal. However, in the women’s tournament, the first 8 seeds benefited from this privilege. This will be the case Sofia Kenin, future opponent of the Belarusian, as was the case with Simona Halep. The Romanian has indeed already qualified for the knockout stages by defeating the Italian Jasmine Paolini (6-3, 6-4) in 1h24 earlier in the day. There he will find Dayana Yastremska, faller of Amanda Anisimova (4-6, 7-6, 6-4).



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