Victoria Azarenka vs. Laura Siegemund, Australian Open R1 Preview

🇦🇺 Australian Open, R1 Preview
🇩🇪 Laura Siegemund vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka is back competing at Melbourne for the first time in three years. The two-time former champion will begin her 2019 Australian Open campaign against Germany’s Laura Siegemund in what will be the first career meeting between the pair.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus practices ahead of the 2019 Australian Open Grand Slam tennis tournament

Laura Siegemund will be looking to complete her first victory at a Grand Slam since the 2016 US Open when she takes to the court against the two-time former champion on Tuesday. Siegemund started her 2019 campaign in Auckland where she was beaten in straight sets by Caroline Wozniacki in the opening round as a lucky-loser. More recently, Siegemund successfully qualified for the main draw in Hobart before being thrashed in the opening round by Dayana Yastremska.

Victoria Azarenka arrives in Melbourne having only played 1 competitive match before the first Grand Slam of the year. Azarenka started her season in Auckland where she was handed a brutal opening round draw against Venus Williams, Azarenka squandered several match-winning positions in that match on route to a tough 3 set loss. Azarenka looked quite shaky at times in her Auckland opener, especially on serve.

Azarenka is one of the big unknowns at this year’s Australian Open, at her best the former champion is still a threat to anyone but she may be understandably rusty to start the event having not played many matches of late.

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Victoria Azarenka vs. Kristina Mladenovic, Montreal R1 Preview

🇨🇦 Rogers Cup, Montreal R1 Preview
🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka vs. 🇫🇷 Kristina Mladenovic

Victoria Azarenka begins her Rogers Cup campaign on Tuesday evening in Montreal. The Belarusian will come up against France’s Kristina Mladenovic. There is a bit of uncertainty surrounding Azarenka heading into this event after injury forced her to retire from her quarter-final match in San Jose last week. Can Azarenka rebound in Montreal?

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action during her second-round match at the 2018 Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic WTA Premier tennis tournament

Injury continues to interrupt the progress of Victoria Azarenka. The 2-time former Grand Slam champion has shown glimpses of her best in 2018 but has not been able to consistently compete at a high level. Azarenka started her U.S hard court swing last week in San Jose where she played some good tennis on route to the quarter-finals. Unfortunately the week ended in disappointment as Azarenka was forced to retire injured from a set up against Collins, a sudden back complaint early in the second set cut her week short.

Kristina Mladenovic also started her U.S hard court swing in San Jose last week. Mladenovic’s campaign was over at the first hurdle as she was defeated by Timea Babos 4-6 2-6. Prior to that Mladenovic had a decent grass court season, she is certainly playing better lately than she did during her horror run late last year.

The only previous match between the pair took place at Wimbledon in 2015, Azarenka claimed a 6-4 6-4 victory.

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Victoria Azarenka vs. Kateryna Bondarenko, San Jose R1 Preview

Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic, San Jose R1 Preview
🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka vs. 🇺🇦 Kateryna Bondarenko

Viktoria Azarenka will look to continue her dominance of Kateryna Bondarenko when the pair meet at the opening round stage of the Mubadala Silicon Valley Classic in San Jose. Azarenka thrashed Bondarenko in straight sets in all of 3 of their previously completed matches, but the pair haven’t met for almost 8 years, will it be more of the same here?

Azarenka has been unable to gain much momentum in 2018. The Belarusian has not won back-to-back matches since Miami and is probably not at the level she thought she would be at by this stage of her return. Azarenka and Bondarenko both had short grass court campaigns. Azarenka was beaten in the second round by Karolina Pliskova whilst Bondarenko was beaten by Lucie Safarova in the opening round. Both will be competing for the first time since early round defeats at Wimbledon.

Azarenka has a 4-0 H2H record over Bondarenko. The most recent match between the pair was way back in 2010, a 6-1 6-1 win for Azarenka at the Rogers Cup.

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Karolina Pliskova vs. Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon R2 Preview

🇬🇧 Wimbledon, R2 Preview
🇨🇿 (7) Karolina Pliskova vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster second round clash from Wimbledon on Wednesday sees the 7th seeded Karolina Pliskova take on Victoria Azarenka. This is the pick of the second round matches at SW19, a match-up that sees two former world number 1’s going head-to-head. A real heavyweight battle. This has been a very competitive match-up in recent times, Azarenka holds a slender 3-2 H2H advantage but this will be their first career meeting on grass. Who will prevail?

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in action during the first round at the 2018 Wimbledon Championships Grand Slam tournament

Karolina Pliskova will be aiming to move past the second round at Wimbledon for the very first time, a bizarre record for a former world number 1. Pliskova made an unconvincing start to her Wimbledon campaign on Monday, the big serving Czech laboured to a 7-6 2-6 6-1 win over local wild card: Harriet Dart. Pliskova looked in trouble as she faced break points in the very first game of the third set but she did raise her intensity and was ultimately too powerful for her inexperienced opponent. In general, Pliskova has not been at her best in the last month, she had disappointing results in Birmingham and Eastbourne before arriving at Wimbledon where she made a poor start.

Victoria Azarenka also survived a big scare in the opening round, a different type of scare. The Belarussian suffered a nasty fall in the first set of her opening round match with Ekaterina Alexandrova but she recovered well enough to claim a 7-6 6-3 victory. Azarenka seems to be in a good place at the moment, her recent results have not been great but one would think that is going to change very soon.

Azarenka holds a 3-2 H2H record over Pliskova. It was Pliskova who the most recent match between the pair, a 6-2 1-6 7-5 victory in Madrid earlier this year. The pair met on one other occasion in 2018, a 7-5 6-3 win to Azarenka in Miami. It will be interesting to see how this match-up unfolds on a grass court for the first time.

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Aleksandra Krunic vs. Victoria Azarenka, Madrid R1 Preview

Mutua Madrid Open R1 Preview
🇷🇸 Aleksandra Krunic vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

Victoria Azarenka is back in Madrid! The two-time former finalist will begin her 2018 Mutua Madrid Open campaign with an opening round match against Serbia’s Aleksandra Krunic. Azarenka made a successful return to the tour during the Sunshine double where she made an impressive run to the semi-finals in Miami. It will be interesting to see what type of level the Belarussian can bring to the clay courts, her first tournament on clay in almost 2 years.

Viktoria Azarenka of Belarus practices at the 2018 Mutua Madrid Open

Azarenka made it clear that she still has the game to be a serious threat as she reached the semi-finals in Miami in just her second tournament back after almost a year away from the tour. Whilst Azarenka has not played much tennis over the last few years, her results when she has played have still been decent. Given how open the tour is right now there is seemingly potentially for Azarenka to be a threat at the tour’s biggest events.

Aleksandra Krunic arrives in Madrid in decent form. The Serbian is fresh off a semi-final showing in Rabat which will give her confidence heading into this tough opening round match in Madrid. Krunic did however suffer a disappointing loss at the semi-final stage where she was beaten by Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets.

The only previous match between the pair ended in a 4-6 6-4 6-4 win for Azarenka at the US Open in 2014, the tournament where Krunic made her big breakthrough. .

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Sloane Stephens vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami SF Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 SF Preview
🇺🇸 (13) Sloane Stephens vs. 🇧🇾 (wc) Victoria Azarenka

A blockbuster semi-final clash at the Miami Open sees reigning U.S open champion Sloane Stephens take on 3-time former Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka. Stephens and Azarenka have both played scintillating tennis in their last couple of matches on route to the final 4 stage, both enter this match desperate to reach a big final for the first time in a while. This promises to be a thrilling match, who will prevail?

This has been an important event for both Stephens and Azarenka. Sloane Stephens is into her first semi-final since winning the U.S Open last year whilst Azarenka will be competing in her first semi-final since her title run in Miami back in 2016.

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Sloane Stephens has cruised past two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-final stage in Miami. Stephens claimed straight set victories over Garbine Muguruza (6-3 6-4) and Angelique Kerber (6-1 6-2), back-to-back wins over top 10 opponents to ensure that Stephens herself will reach the top 10 for the first time when the latest rankings come out next week. Earlier in the event Stephens thrashed Ajla Tomljanovic in straight sets and came from a set down to defeat Monica Niculescu. This is clearly the best tennis Sloane has played since her heroics at the U.S Open last year.

Amazingly Stephens has a 22-5 win-loss record in North American over the past year whilst in any other country she has a 0-9 win-loss record. Clearly the reigning U.S Open champion saves her best tennis for her home continent…

Victoria Azarenka is on an 11-match winning streak in Miami. Alongside the Australian Open it would be fair to say that the Miami Open is the most successful tournament for the 3-time former champion. Like Stephens, Azarenka has ripped through two quality opponents in a row to reach the semi-finals. A 6-2 6-2 win over Agnieszka Radwanska and a 7-5 6-3 win over Karolina Pliskova. Azarenka’s return of serve has been particularly damaging, the Belarussian has consistently been at the top of the return points won standings this tournament.

Azarenka holds a 3-1 head-to-head record over Stephen. It was Azarenka who won the first three matches between the pair, all in straight sets at the Australian Open between 2013 and 2015. However, most recently it was Stephens who prevailed 6-1 7-5 just a few weeks ago in Indian Wells. There is certainly an underlying tension between these two, they do not particularly like each other and will both be desperate to win Thursday’s clash in Miami. Expect fireworks.

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Catherine Bellis vs Victoria Azarenka, Miami R1 Preview

Miami Open, 🇺🇸🌞🐬🌴 R1 Preview
🇺🇸 Catherine Bellis vs. 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

Two-time former champion: Victoria Azarenka will begin her 2018 Miami Open campaign with a difficult opening round clash against American rising-star: Catherine Bellis. Azarenka made her much anticipated return to the tour in Indian Wells where she was eliminated in the second round. Azarenka will be keen to build on that result and have a better result in Miami but Bellis has generally been in good form of late and has shown that she is capable of defeating more credentialed opponents.

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in action at the 2018 BNP Paribas Open WTA Premier Mandatory tennis tournament

Bellis and Azarenka both arrive in Miami on the back of second round exits at the BNP Paribas Open. Bellis started her campaign with a comfortable straight set win over Sara Sorribes Tormo before giving up a 1 set lead to succumb to defending champion Elena Vesnina in 3 sets. Bellis has had some great results of late, most notably her run through the qualifying draw to the quarter-finals in Doha which included wins over Daria Kasatkina, Madison Keys and Karolina Pliskova. Still in her teens, it is understandable that Bellis is quite inconsistent.

Azarenka started her Indian Wells campaign with a commanding straight set win over Heather Watson in what was her first competitive match since Wimbledon last year. Unfortunately for Azarenka her level is the second round was far from her best as she suffered a straight set loss to Sloane Stephens. Overall, it was a mixed week for Vika, she showed some good signs but her convincing loss to Stephens was quite uncharacteristic. In general, I think Azarenka looked good and will quickly rise back up the rankings. Azarenka knows she has a lot to work on and is determined to climb back to the top of women’s tennis. Azarenka will head to Miami determined to make amends for that loss to Stephens as she continues this new stage of her career.

The only previous match between the pair took place at the opening round stage of Wimbledon last year, Azarenka claimed a 3-6 6-2 6-1 victory on that occasion.

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Victoria Azarenka vs Heather Watson, Indian Wells R1 Preview

BNP Paribas Open, 🇺🇸🌴 Indian Wells R1 Preview
🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka vs 🇬🇧 Heather Watson

Victoria Azarenka will make her much anticipated return to the WTA tour with an opening round matchup against Britain’s Heather Watson at the BNP Paribas Open. Azarenka is a two-time former champion in Indian Wells having won the event in 2012 and 2016. The former world number 1 will be in action for the first time since Wimbledon last year after a lengthy custody battle kept her away from the game. It will be interesting to see what level the Belarusian can bring to the court in her return in what has historically been a good matchup for Azarenka.

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Azarenka has a great record in Indian Wells, the gritty hard court surface really suits the Belarusian’s game. Azarenka has been preparing for her return for months, she is fit and ready to go. It would not be surprising to see Azarenka have a deep run at the BNP Paribas Open.

Heather Watson arrives at the BNP Paribas Open with 3 consecutive opening round losses to her name. Watson was in action last week in Acapulco where she was beaten in the opening round by Beatriz Haddad Maia in 3 sets, a match Watson would have expected to win. Prior to that Watson was beaten by Roberta Vinci in the opening round of qualifying at the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy and suffered a very disappointing opening round loss to Yulia Putintseva at the Australian Open. Watson’s results at Indian Wells have generally been modest, her best result was a run to the fourth round in 2015.

Azarenka holds a dominant 5-0 head-to-head record over Watson, on a hard court that record is 3-0, all 3 wins were in straight sets, most recently a 6-2 6-4 win at the Rogers Cup in 2014. The most recent match between the pair took place last year at Wimbledon, Azarenka won that match 3-6 6-1 6-4 in what a very competitive match.

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Simona Halep vs Victoria Azarenka, Wimbledon R4 Preview

Wimbledon 🇬🇧💂🍓🎩 R4 Match Preview:
(2) 🇷🇴 Simona Halep vs 🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka

The pick of the fourth round matches at SW19 sees the second seeded Simona Halep take on a resurgent Victoria Azarenka. Halep has cruised through to the second week in London without dropping a set whilst Azarenka has already overcome a few tight battle in her progression to the second week. The most recent match between these two has an epic at the U.S Open a few years ago, which Halep won in a tight third set. Azarenka will be desperate for revenge here in what should be another memorable match between two very evenly matches combatants.

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Victoria Azarenka vs Heather Watson, Wimbledon R3 Preview

Wimbledon 🇬🇧💂🍓 Day 5, R3 Match Preview:
🇧🇾 Victoria Azarenka vs (wc) 🇬🇧 Heather Watson

Victoria Azarenka is building momentum nicely at SW19. Azarenka overcame a tough early round test against Catherine Bellis where she came from a set down before cruising past the 15th seeded Elena Vesnina in straight sets. Azarenka will come up against Britain’s Heather Watson on Friday, an opponent the Belarusian has a perfect record against.

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