Toray Pan Pacific Open: Victoria Azarenka advances to the quarterfinals with a straight-sets win over Ashleigh Barty
Victoria Azarenka earned an easy victory at the Toray Pan Pacific Open Thursday. With Ashleigh Barty off her rhythm, the 29-year-old took advantage to pull off another straight sets win 6-4, 6-2 on center court at Arena Tachikawa Tachihi in Japan.
This was a first time meeting between the two power hitters which would ultimately spell out who would make the quarterfinals.
While the Belorussian didn’t have an even matchup against Kurumi Nara, the Aussie had the biggest challenge against Coco Vandeweghe who hits the ball much like herself.
The three-set win she played had her warmed up to try and reach the furthest she’s ever been at the tournament.
She led Azarenka to start the set on serve where she nearly got the best of here in the second game.
When the Belorussian held her serve after two breaks, she returned the favor in kind in the fifth winning on the second break point. Barty broke back in the sixth to even the score but gave Azarenka a double break that made it a difference.
She got to 5-3 with the hold on deuce followed by a service hold from the Aussie that put her back down a game.
The 29-year-old made sure to cap the set win with three set point attempts to lead after 47 minutes.
Despite being taped up on her left leg, the Belorussian continued to be the dominating factor, breaking Barty to start the second set.
She took a 2-0 run before the Australian was able to answer on the serve. She then found herself broken in the fifth that had Azarenka coasting to victory.
Barty made sure to break back in the sixth to try and reel in the lost ground but double-faulted twice on serve that enabled the former world number one to serve for the match.
Azarenka nearly had a service to love in place to end Barty’s tournament but coming back from 0-40 down wasn’t in the cards as she hit the next shot into the net ending 1 hour and 17 minutes.
Both played an even show of offense with Azarenka leaning better on her shots and creating unforced errors for the Aussie which were 22 in total to the 14 she made for herself.
She will try to strengthen things as she awaits the winner between Caroline Wozniacki and Camila Giorgi for Friday’s quarterfinal.