CARLSBAD: Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka, playing for the first time since an injury withdrawal from Wimbledon, celebrated her birthday with a WTA win at Carlsbad.
Australian Open champion Azarenka, ranked third in the world, cruised into the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-3 second-round victory over former French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy.
“Just going on the court and competing was so much joy for me,” said Azarenka, who turned 24.
She hadn’t played since limping out of Wimbledon after hurting her right knee in her first-round win over Portugal’s Maria Joao Koehler.
“I missed playing and I was just happy to be able to do something I’ve been training for. I enjoyed the time I had to go through rehab and learn so many new things. I was excited to see how I would handle it in the match. It was a good feeling to have that platform, and I’ll just try to make it better and better now.”
Former Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the third seed, also eased into the quarters, beating Britain’s Laura Robson 6-1, 6-2
Kvitova hadn’t been counting on an easy passage.
“I didn’t know exactly what to expect from myself,” said Kvitova. “But this is tennis, and every day is different, and that’s how I approached the match. I played well and my serve was great. We practiced very hard on my serve back home after Wimbledon.”
Published in The Express Tribune, August 2nd, 2013.
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