Italian Open 2019: Azarenka advances via Muguruza retirement in Rome
Victoria Azarenka didn't have to exert herself too much at the BNL Internazionali D’Italia Thursday. The 2013 finalist in Rome held her end in the first before seeing Garbine Muguruza retire down 6-4, 3-1 on Court Three at the Foro Italico.
The two had met in Monterrey earlier this year where the Spaniard took care of business to register her first win over the Belarusian. Ironically that match ended with Azarenka unable to finish, as she retired down 6-1, 3-1.
In Rome the two started the opening set by holding serve through two games before the Spaniard called for the physio to deal with a back issue. She left the court to take a medical timeout but quickly returned to resume play.
They went through six games playing well on serve until Azarenka got the chance she needed to take the initiative in the set.
Bringing together some real energy, the 29-year-old broke the Spaniard to go ahead, before consolidating with a hold. Muguruza refused to go down without a fight and made sure to defend her serve in the ninth, but Azarenka was well in charge now. Gaining two set points, the former world number one put Muguruza away with her signature groundstrokes that were enough to end the first in 42 minutes.
The second saw a sudden turn of events as Muguruza seemed unable to get her feet moving. She battled through the next three games which the Belarusian took with ease before ending the fourth with a shake of hands to end the match in 1 hour and 11 minutes.
The Spaniard's decision to end the match was understandable as she would want to be in shape for Roland Garros, with just a week left to recover from any ailments she suffered in competition.
Azarenka now awaits the winner of the match between Karolina Pliskova and Sofia Kenin in the next round.