Victoria Azarenka is looking to Wimbledon to rediscover her blistering form that saw her ranked @orld #1 in 2012. The Belarussian 29-year-old made a comeback in 2017 for two grass court events, including Wimbledon. She has found it tough, ever since. The World #42 is making some progress and has hinted at a return to her blistering best. She finished 2018 ranked #51.
A Doubles Title Shows Winning Edge, but Injury Interrupts Azarenka’s Progress
Playing doubles is helping with her tennis sharpness; she is now #33 in this sphere. This was helped by a doubles title with Ashleigh Barty in Rome – the pair was un-seeded at the time. However, Azarenka sorely needs a good Slam performance to re-establish her singles reputation. Wimbledon is just the place to do it. If she can remain injury free. Leg pains forced Azarenka to retire during the Monterrey Open at the end of the first hard-court swing; she was showing signs of real momentum and promise.
Victoria Azarenka’s Clay Season Shows Promise
A 7-4 win-loss record on clay this season, including a run to the quarters in Rome, represents decent progress. This tournament saw glimpses of the blistering Victoria Azarenka of old. Based on this, hopes will have been higher going into the French Open. However, a tight 2nd round three sets defeat to the then world #1 Naomi Osaka means that Azarenka didn’t quite meet the expected progress expectations at a Slam.
Azarenka’s Mallorca Near Miss Hints at Grass Form Hike to Come
There’s an increasing upturn in Azarenka’s level in the past few months. Arguably, it hasn’t produced the deserved results. Also, it is a little harsh that the Belorussian doesn’t have a WTA title to her name since her return from pregnancy in 2017. The Miami Open in 2016 represents her last title.
Unfortunately, near misses in matches against high caliber players are still a setback. Most recently, on her own grass court appearance this season, Azarenka went toe-to-toe with Nottingham Open champion Caroline Garcia. Ultimately, a weak first serve performance of 53% gave Garcia too many second serves to attack. This aside, there are several indicators in recent times that Azarenka could light the form touch paper.
Wimbledon is Azarenka’s Opportunity to Make a Slam Point
Although more of a natural hard-courter, Victoria Azarenka’s high-octane baseline power can still prove effective on the slick Wimbledon turf. The 29-year-old has a career win-loss record of 44-20 on grass. This includes two Wimbledon semifinal appearances in 2011 and 2012. It shows that Azarenka is no forlorn hope this time of year. Granted, her four Slam finals inclusive of two titles all came on hard-court.
It is not beyond Azarenka breaking her non-hard-court Slam jinx of never getting beyond the semis. Azarenka could be a dangerous floater in the Wimbledon draw, be under no illusion about that.
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