By Ros Satar, in Madrid

  • Victoria Azarenka def. Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 6-3
  • Confirms she will play all the way through to Wimbledon
MADRID, SPAIN – Victoria Azarenka will make the most of being in Europe as she overcome a quick start by Aleksandra Krunic to progress at the Mutua Madrid Open.

 

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Victoria Azarenka def. Aleksandra Krunic 6-3 6-3

It might look like a routine score-line for the two-time Grand Slam champion and former World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka, but it took her a while to warm up to the task, coming back from a break down against Aleksandra Krunic to progress in Madrid.

Azarenka toiled hard for the pivotal break against the Serbian, finally converting on her eighth break point in the game, but from that point, broke again this time to love, and broke three times in a row in the second set to land her first clay court win since bouncing out of the French Open first round in 2016.

She said: “I had to adjust a little bit. It’s been quite a cold weather the last days I’ve been practicing. Today was pretty hot. The ball flies a little bit more with the altitude, so there was a little bit of a time to adjust for me.

“Plus it’s my first match in, I don’t know, two years or whatever on clay. So that’s definitely not easy. But I’m happy that I could find a way to win, produce some good tennis at the moment. There is definitely a lot of things that I can improve. But it’s a start.”

 

There is, of course, a little more to the rustiness of playing in the clay for the first time in two weeks. The ongoing custody case over her son meant that she only found out relatively late that she could even come to Europe, much less plan a schedule for the full (and gruelling) clay and grass court swing.

She continued: “I found out close to the end of April that I could go. But I tried to stay focused on my training a lot more this time. I’ve done a little bit of better preparation overall. I’m trying to get a little bit more stability right now.

“I’m playing all the way through Wimbledon. I play Rome, I play Paris. I’m going to play Mallorca. I’m going to play Wimbledon. That’s my schedule for the next couple months. It’s definite.”

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Since making a short-lived comeback at Wimbledon last year, it has been a difficult time for the Belarusian, and she admitted that it has been hard to have the patience that she not only needs to get the results coming – match-play has been in short supply – but to also deal with everything life has thrown at her.

“I had to learn very much this. I honestly don’t even know where do I get this from because I felt always that patience is the most difficult thing for me. But I think becoming a mom, that’s something that you have to have. With what I’ve been going through, there’s no other way than having patience, that’s for sure.

“I was so happy to be on that plane, you have no idea. Just have a fresh European air, European food, everything. I’m so happy to be out of the United States for now.”

 

 

[Her son, Leo] loves it. We go to the parks. It’s such a beautiful city, Madrid, with so many attractions for kids. It’s actually amazing. We’ve been to so many different playgrounds, to shows, to magic shows in the park. It’s free. It’s amazing. He’s loving it. He is loving the food here, I tell you that.

 

Azarenka will play Karolina Pliskova in Monday’s night match.

 

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