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Victoria Azarenka Charges Past Venus Williams and Continues to Thrive at Italian Open 2020

Victoria Azarenka Charges Past Venus Williams and Continues to Thrive at Italian Open 2020

Victoria Azarenka in action

In the most anticipated first-round contest at the WTA Italian Open, Victoria Azarenka defeated Venus Williams 7-6(7), 6-2 to start her campaign at the Italian Open 2020 in style. Azarenka won her opening match on clay, just 4 days after her US Open 2020 final loss against Naomi Osaka.

With Wednesday’s win, Azarenka also exacted revenge on Williams for her loss to Williams at the WTA event in Lexington. After that loss, Azarenka went on a dream run that got her the Western and Southern Open title and US Open final appearance.

Venus Williams in action
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 16, 2020 Venus Williams of the U.S. in action during her second round match against Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka Pool via REUTERS/Riccardo Antimiani

First set: Enthralling battle between Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams

The first set saw both players break each other’s serve twice to take things deep. Azarenka had the advantage with a set point on Williams’ serve at 5-4, but the American star held her nerve to hold. It was Azarenka’s turn to do the same in the next game, as she saved a break-point this time.

However, Williams soon brought up another break-point, which she converted with a big backhand winner up the line. Azarenka was quick to respond and soon brought up two break-points. Williams saved the first but a double fault on the next gave Azarenka the break back.

Azarenka drew first blood in the tie-break, with a 4-2 lead. She then bagged a second mini-break, but Williams struck back with four straight points to bring up a set point of her own. Azarenka saved it, soon brought up two of her own, and won an enthralling set on her second set point with an error from Williams.

Second set: Azarenka dominates to seal the victory

The Belarusian started the second set confidently. She broke Williams’ serve in the first game itself. She then raced to a 3-1 lead, before breaking serve for that extra cushion of a double break. However, Wiliams struck soon to win back one of the breaks.

Victoria Azarenka in action
Tennis – WTA Premier 5 – Italian Open – Foro Italico, Rome, Italy – September 16, 2020 Belarus’ Victoria Azarenka in action during her second round match against Venus Williams of the U.S. Pool via REUTERS/Clive Brunskill

The next game saw both players fight hard. Azarenka wanted to seal the match soon, while it was a matter of survival for Williams who was forced to save many break-points. The pressure from Azarenka paid off and she eventually broke for a 5-2 lead. She then won the match comfortably in the next game.

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