BRILLIANT! Victoria Azarenka Halts Reigning French Open Semifinalist Maria Sakkari at National Bank Open 2021

Published 08/12/2021, 3:25 PM EDT
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 05: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts to winning a point during her Women’s Singles third round match against Iga Swiatek of Poland on Day Six of the 2020 US Open at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on September 05, 2020 in the Queens borough of New York City. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)


The Round of 16 at the National Bank Open witnessed Victoria Azarenka take on Maria Sakkari today. With the two players separated by just three places in the WTA rankings, this clash looked set to be a close-fought battle.

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And both players did not disappoint, taking the match down to the wire. In the end, Azarenka held her nerve in the final set to win 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (7-2)

Victoria Azarenka seals quarterfinal berth in nervy final set tiebreaker

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In the first set, Sakkari broke the Belaruisan’s serve early to take a 2-0 lead. However, Azarenka struck back almost immediately, breaking her Greek opponent’s serve in the third game before tying the set 2-2. Although the Belarusian broke Sakkari’s serve once again to go 3-2 up, the World No. 18 returned the favor to tie the set 3-3.

After a hard-fought battle, Azarenka broke once again in the seventh game to go up 4-3. Eventually, she sealed the set 6-4. The second set saw Sakkari and Azarenka repeat the same pattern as in the first set. Sakkari once again went 2-0 up, only for Azarenka to pull it back. However, Sakkari produced an incredible effort in the next three games to go 5-2 up before sealing the set 6-3.

The final set saw incredible tennis from both players. Although Sakkari led 4-2 at one point, Azarenka clawed her way to tie the set at 4-4. No breaks would follow after this as the set needed a tiebreaker at 6-6. In the tiebreaker however, Azarenka clinched the set in a stunning 7-2 finish to advance to the quarterfinals.

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Azarenka sets up all-Belarusian quarterfinal against Sabalenka

With this victory, the World No. 15 will face World No. 3 Aryna Sabalenka in the quarterfinals. Should she get past the top seed in the tournament, she could face Karolina Pliskova in the semifinals depending on the Czech star’s results.

Aug 10, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hits a shot against Sorana Cirstea of Romania (not pictured) during second round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports.

With just under three weeks to go for the US Open, this quarterfinal looks the pick of the round already. Can Azarenka continue her impressive run in the tournament? Or will the big-serving Sabalenka march into the semifinals of the National Bank Open?

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DIVE DEEPER

“This Rule is Not Good at All”: Simona Halep Opens Up on Final Set Timeout at National Bank Open 2021

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Sanket Nair

650 articles

Sanket Nair is an F1 Author at EssentiallySports. A Sports Management student, he is a huge fan of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo and hopes to see Red Bull break Mercedes' dominance and win the World Championship soon. Sanket has been hooked to the sport ever since he watched the battle for the 2010 World Championship go down to the wire at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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