Fixture: Victoria Azarenka vs Alize Cornet
Date: 25 August 2020
Tournament: Western & Southern Open 2020
Round: Round of 16
Venue: Flushing Meadows, New York, USA
Category: WTA Premier 5
Surface: Outdoor hardcourt
Prize money: $1,950,079
Match timing: 2.30 pm EDT, 12 am IST
Live telecast: USA - Tennis Channel / ESPN
Victoria Azarenka vs Alize Cornet preview
Azarenka's abysmal start to the 2020 season had extended into the post-COVID resumption of tennis. In the two matches she played prior to arriving in New York, the two-time Australian Open champion failed to win more than five games on either occasion.
But the Belarusian finally seems to have rediscovered some of her form. Displaying her trademark power and aggression, the World No. 59 blitzed past Donna Vekic and Caroline Garcia without dropping a set, giving glimpses of the Azarenka of yore.
Alize Cornet has also been pretty impressive in New York, showing why she was once ranked as high as No. 11 in the world. Currently ranked 60th, the Frenchwoman used her terrific baseline play to swat away Catherine McNally and reigning Australian Open champion Sofia Kenin in the first two rounds.
Victoria Azarenka vs Alize Cornet head-to-head
Victoria Azarenka has thoroughly dominated this rivalry, as evident from her flawless 6-0 head-to-head record over Alize Cornet. The fact that the Belarusian has mastered the Frenchwoman on all three surfaces shows how well her game matches up to Cornet's.
Three out of the six matches did go the distance, but that hasn't happened since 2014. Azarenka hasn't had much problem dismissing Cornet in their last couple of meetings, with their most recent encounter - on the grasscourts of Wimbledon - resulting in another easy victory for the Belarusian.
Victoria Azarenka vs Alize Cornet prediction
This will be a clash of two resurgent women who are currently separated on the rankings chart by just one spot.
Although Alize Cornet has had a much better start to the 2020 season as compared to Victoria Azarenka, it was nowhere near her best. In five tournaments, she has reached the quarterfinals only once this year.
But at the Western & Southern Open, Cornet has successfully brushed aside her struggles and summoned the version of herself that bested Serena Williams thrice in 2014. The Frenchwoman can defend stubbornly to frustrate the game's biggest hitters, and her speed is one of her strongest points.
But all of that might not be enough to thwart the Belarusian this time. Azarenka has racked up 41 winners in the tournament so far, against just 22 unforced errors. She has been hitting the ball clean and looks very focused.
The former World No. 1 wouldn't want to give up the opportunity to return to the quarterfinals of a tournament where she has lifted the trophy in the past (2013).
Prediction: Victoria Azarenka to win in three sets.Published 25 Aug 2020, 10:48 IST