Petra Kvitova Ends Tough Season as Victoria Azarenka Wins the Battle of Multiple Grand Slam Champs at Indian Wells

Published 10/10/2021, 11:32 PM EDT
ROME, ITALY: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates in her round one match against Venus Williams of The United States during day three of the Internazionali BNL d’Italia at Foro Italico in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Riccardo Antimiani – Pool/Getty Images)


Inarguably, two of the most notable WTA players, Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka, met each other for the ninth time in their career in the WTA 1000 Indian Wells 2021. So far, the Czech player had a five to three advantage over the Belarusian. But this time, Azarenka closed the distance, winning the match 7-5, 6-4.

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Interestingly, the duo had played their first head-to-head in 2008, also which Azarenka had won. However, in the last decade, Kvitova won five, whereas her opponent converted only one. Hence, it was clear that this match had all the experience and rivalry coming into it.

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Victoria Azarenka vs. Petra Kvitova, Set 1: Indian Wells 2021

Given the slow court speed in the desert, hard-hitting became a crucial weapon to gain control. Since both Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka are naturally powerful hitters, the battle became more interesting.

At 1-1, the 32-year-old Belarusian got the opening break against the seventh seed. While Kvitova recovered her loss immediately, Azarenka got a second break in the next game. It became clear then that holding a service game would be the biggest challenge in this match.

Oct 8, 2021; Indian Wells, CA, USA; Petra Kvitova (CZE) serves against Arantxa Rus (NED) at Indian Wells Tennis Garden. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sportsin

Again, the 27th seed failed to consolidate her break advantage. Indeed, both were struggling to find their rhythm on Court 2 in Indian Wells. Afterward, the 31-year-old Czech Republican recorded the sixth consecutive break in the opening set, bringing the score to 4-4.

After saving another breakpoint, 31-year-old Kvitova finally held her service, asking Azarenka to serve to keep the set alive. In response, the Belarusian star took the next three games, winning the set 7-5.

Watch this story: A Look Back at Emma Raducanu’s 2021 Spotlight Moments After US Open Glory

Azarenka vs. Kvitova, Set 2: Indian Wells 2021

Similar to the opening set, the two-time Australian Open champion got the first break. But this time, Azarenka backed up the break, obtaining a 3-1 lead in the second set.

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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)

But the battle was far from over. Trailing a set and a break, the two-time Wimbledon champion took control and won the next three games. However, Kvitova then let her opponent win the subsequent two.

Ultimately, Azarenka served for the next round and booked her fourth win against Kvitova 7-5, 6-4. Indeed, it was her most comfortable service game of the match.

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In the next round, she will meet compatriot Aliaksandra Sasnovich, who upset Emma Raducanu and Simona Halep on her way. Can she go 3-0 against Grand Slam champions, or will Azarenka end her dream run? Let’s wait and watch.

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Purav Joshi

1238 articles

Purav Joshi is a Senior Tennis author at EssentiallySports. Having a degree in Films, Television and Media Production, he guided his passion for writing and journalism into the sport of aces and rallies. With over 2 years of experience as a copywriter, Purav has authored over 1000 tennis articles.

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