Rogers Cup: Azarenka fends off Giorgi in straight sets
Victoria Azarenka put so much pressure in the contest that gave her the win at the Rogers Cup Tuesday. The hard right-handed hitter played consistently and took time away from Camila Giorgi to win in straight sets 6-2, 6-2 on centre court at the Aviva Tennis Centre.
This was the second meeting between the two with their last ending abruptly in Tokyo last year. The Belorussian had physical issues on court that wouldn’t allow her to play at her best. With her back in Toronto for the first time since 2015, the 30-year-old looked to even the score against the Italian and put her best efforts into leveling the series.
Giorgi picked up a lot of time in Washington to play coming so close to her third career title. With many components of her game coming together, the 27-year-old eyed more wins if she could counter what Azarenka brought to court.
The Italian’s opening service game was challenged by the 30-year-old but managed to secure the hold. Azarenka blew through her service in the second putting down an ace that shaped the serve to love. Consolidating the break gave her an early 2-1 hold but was broken back to even it up for Giorgi. A third was recorded in benefit for the Belorussian as the Italian double-faulted in her second consecutive game.
She tried to make up for that in the sixth, fighting for control, but the former world number one refused to let her opponent get any more AD point chances and locked it down after the second break. The triple break was pulled off as another double fault from Giorgi marked her sixth of the set. She tried to recover but was denied any more time as Azarenka was on a mission to conduct a lead. She made good in the eighth to rush through the game and reach a set point where she scored her fourth ace to finish things in 35 minutes.
With her first serve struggling and having only three winners, Giorgi left herself vulnerable if a fix wasn’t made quickly. Her service game was rattled to start the second with Azarenka relentlessly giving the powerful crosscourt returns that earned her a fourth straight break. The Belorussian made some surprising errors that gave the Italian three break points to help her score the break back with net-front presence.
The small improvement helped Giorgi keep Azarenka within reach after five despite losing two service games. The Belorussian saw that and responded with an offensive push that gave her a hold in the sixth and a break in the seventh to play for the match with Giorgi three games back.
The 27-year-old needed to fend off the Belorussian in the eighth but despite having a chance to score the break, the former world number one forced deuce and gained the key AD point that gave her the victory on a line drive error from Giorgi. Azarenka got the job done in 1 hour and 12 minutes to the tune of 80 percent of points won on the first serve and six aces in total.
"I thought I stayed really consistent today, "Azarenka said during her on-court interview. "I played one point at a time and served pretty well and took my opportunity." "She's a very difficult opponent when there's not a lot of rhythm so I had to try to get every opportunity I can and put a lot of pressure."
With the success, she’ll await Ukrainian Dayana Yastremska in the second round who will no doubt test her skills.