CLEAN-KILL! Victoria Azarenka Eases Past Zhang Shuai in Round of 64 of Chicago Fall Tennis Classic 2021

Published 09/28/2021, 3:00 PM EDT
Aug 12, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus reacts after making the winning shot against Maria Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) during third round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports


After making a splashing comeback to the WTA tour last year by winning the Cincinnati Masters, former World No.1 and two-time major champion Victoria Azarenka produced consistent performances this year as well.

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Even though she hasn’t won a singles tournament yet, the Belarusian managed to win the doubles event at the Grass Court Championships in Berlin alongside compatriot Aryna Sabalenka.

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Victoria Azarenka has had a mixed-season so far on the WTA tour

Apart from the title, there were some tough losses for Azarenka against top-tier players like Ashleigh Barty, Garbine Muguruza, and Sabalenka. At the recently concluded US Open, the Belarusian lost in the third round against Muguruza. Currently ranked no.34 on the WTA tour, Azarenka is looking to finish the season on a high and move up a few places ahead of next year.

The former World No.1 chose to play in the Chicago Fall Tennis Classic, a WTA 250 tournament, where she faced Shuai Zhang in the first-round.

The duo faced each other twice on tour ahead of this clash and Azarenka managed to beat the Chinese player in both the encounters. Let’s see how the match progressed.

Sep 3, 2021; Flushing, NY, USA; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus serves against Garbine Muguruza of Spain in a third round match on day five of the 2021 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

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Azarenka marches past Shuai Zhang in the first round of Chicago Fall Tennis Classic

Right from the start, Azarenka began to take charge of points and found angles to hit winners from both the wings. Even though Zhang managed to extract a break from Azarenka’s serve, the latter broke the Chinese thrice in the first set alone and won it, 6-2.

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Also, Zhang made numerous unforced errors in comparison to Azarenka and couldn’t do the required damage from her first serve. Even the second set followed the same pattern as the first.

Aug 12, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, Canada; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hits reacts after her win against Sakkari of Greece (not pictured) during third round play at Stade IGA. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

It was Zhang who got the early break but the Belarusian dominated the rest of the games and didn’t allow her opponent to win another game. As the unforced errors kept piling up from the Chinese professional, Azarenka kept leaping forward on her service games with ease.

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It was only a matter of time before the former world no.1 clinched a straight sets victory as she won the match quite comfortably without facing any real pressure from Shuai Zhang.

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Sagar Ashtakoula

467 articles

Sagar Ashtakoula is a tennis writer at EssentiallySports. He has been following the sport since 2007. Having developed an interest in creating content, he mixed his passion for writing with his love for tennis for 2 years at SportsKeeda before joining the tennis team at EssentiallySports.

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