Madrid R3: (1) Serena Williams vs Victoria Azarenka
Wednesday’s match of the day at the Mutua Madrid Open sees Serena Williams take on Victoria Azarenka in the third round, a rematch of the 2012 Madrid final. This will be the first meeting between the pair in over a year, this match-up was the biggest rivalry on tour for much of 2012 and 2013, we can expect to see another fierce encounter between these two great rivals.
Serena Williams is currently on a 25 match winning streak and has looked close to unbeatable for much of 2015. The world number 1 has absolutely cruised through her opening two matches in Madrid. The world number one required less than an hour to brush aside compatriots Madison Brengle and Sloane Stephens. Williams looks extremely sharp and extremely focused this week, determined to have a better clay court season in 2015.
Victoria Azarenka has overcome a tough opening two rounds with flying colors. Vika fought past Venus Williams 7-5 6-3 in the opening round before defeating Ajla Tomljanovic 6-3 6-3 in a high quality match. Azarenka has looked extremely solid in her opening round matches, her serve has been particularly impressive, winning a good amount of points behind her first serve. Vika will need to step things up if she is to overcome the biggest test on the WTA tour on Wednesday.
Serena has a commanding 14-3 head to head record over Vika, however the lopsided head to head record doesn’t correctly reflect the competitive rivalry between the two. Vika has won two of the last five meetings between the pair, both in finals, in Doha and Cincinnati both in 2013. Serena has won their two most recent encounters: a hard fought 3 set victory in the 2013 US Open final and a 6-4 7-5 win in Brisbane last year.
Both Serena and Vika have been impressive in their opening two matches, it’s a shame they have to play each other so early in the tournament. Serena has won both their previous matches on clay and quite convincingly. I suspect Serena will once again prevail in straight sets, however Vika will put up an almighty fight. It’s impossible to pick against Serena at the moment.
Prediction: Serena Williams to defeat Victoria Azarenka in 2 sets