Australian Open - Victoria Azarenka in vintage form with win over Caroline Wozniacki

Twice Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka was in superb form as she continued her comeback from injury with a crucial win at Melbourne Park.

Staff Reporter
22 January 2015, 6:19pm
Victoria Azarenka is chasing a third Australian Open title
Victoria Azarenka is chasing a third Australian Open title
The big name duo were meeting at such an early stage of the event because Azarenka is not seeded at a Grand Slam for the first time since 2007 after her 2014 campaign was ruined by injury

She has therefore slipped to No 44 in the world rankings but looked in good form on Margaret Court Arena as she raced into a 3-0 lead against Wozniacki.

The Dane is a great fighter and recovered to level at 4-4 but then had her serve broken again when what proved to be a pivotal ninth game went the way of Azarenka following four deuces, when she smashed a forehand down the line.

She then held serve to secure the opening set after 58 minutes and the 25-year-old Belarussian was even more impressive in set two, breaking serve twice, reaching match point with her first ace of the evening, and then putting away a backhand volley to clinch victory.

Despite finishing 2010 and 2011 as World No 1, Wozniacki has yet to win a Grand Slam in 32 attempts and she is going backwards in terms of progress at the Australian Open.

After reaching the semi-finals in 2011, she has since been knocked out in the quarter-finals, then the fourth round, third round and now the second.

"I think it's a curse I've gotten here," she said.

"Hopefully I'm going to break that next year and start going the other way.

"At the end of the day, she played better than me today, and hats off to that. I just need to go back and work hard.

"It's early, still the beginning of the year, so I still have 10 months to make up for this. Hopefully, it's still going to be a good year."

Azarenka delighted the crowd by dancing on court to celebrate victory and she will next face Czech 25th seed Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, while a quarter-final date with Serena Williams could lie ahead.

"It's really satisfying to be able to play again," said Azarenka.

"Sometimes, of course, there's pressure, there's tough moments, but just to be able to go through all those emotions again, it's really fun.

"I think my net game went pretty well today, I think I took those chances and really went for it. I'm mostly pleased about that today.”