INDIAN WELLS: For a second successive year, Victoria Azarenka brings red-hot form to Indian Wells for the BNP Paribas Open but the confident Belarusian has no desire to reflect on past glories.
Rather than look for motivation in a perfect 14-0 record in 2013 as she prepares to defend her title at a venue where she feels extremely comfortable, Azarenka prefers to focus on the present in her bid to create even better memories.
“I never think about how I played yesterday and trying to bring good memories with me too much because it doesn’t really matter,” said Azarenka. “So for me, I am really excited to be here and hopefully I will continue to play well. I always look forwards to my first match and we’ll start from there.”
Twelve months ago, Azarenka clinched her fourth title of the year with a 6-2 6-3 demolition of an error-prone Maria Sharapova in the final of the Indian Wells WTA tournament, improving her record for the season to 23-0.
Fast forward one year and Azarenka is at it again after successfully defending her Australian Open crown in January before going on to win last month’s Qatar Open by outclassing Serena Williams 7-6 2-6 6-3 in the final.
Schiavone to meet Sharapova in second round
Former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone defeated fellow Italian Flavia Pennetta 7-5, 6-1 to book a clash with second-seeded Maria Sharapova at the BNP Paribas Open.
Schiavone, the 2010 Roland Garros winner, improved to 5-2 against Pennetta, who has only recently returned from a wrist surgery.
Meanwhile, Jelena Jankovic will face a tough second-round clash against two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, who needed just 71 minutes to beat Czech Andrea Hlavackova 6-3, 6-1.
Once ranked as high as second in the world, Kuznetsova dropped to 85th but has climbed back to 46th.
“I’m happy to be back on the court, this is the main thing,” said Kuznetsova. “Every day I just try the best I can and things are coming along pretty well.”
US wild card Maria Sanchez, ranked 112th in the world, defeated Russian Olga Puchkova 6-3, 6-3 to line up a second-round meeting with third-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2013.