Victoria Azarenka didn’t have an easy start in her first round match but finished strong at the Mexican Open. Her three set battle against Polona Hercog ended in three sets winning 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 on Cancha Central in Acapulco Tuesday night.
It’s been five years since the two have met on court with the Belorussian winning it in straight sets. Since then she has been a dominant force firing back during the start of the season where she won the Brisbane tournament before going into the Australian Open where she lost in the quarterfinals. Azarenka was clearly the number one seed coming into the open she hasn’t won before. She’ll try to do so but the time off the tennis court could be an advantage for the Slovakian.
They kept the serve on through two games with Hercog pulling off a love service against Azarenka as a statement of her intentions. She broke the Belorussian in the third before being outdueled in the fourth. The breaks continued with Hercog still grabbing the lead in the set but not staying with it for long as Azarenka had an answer against her service.
The solutions ran out for Azarenka as she found herself fighting to stay in the set with Hercog breaking once more before holding service in the eighth. Azarenka was on the ropes but found a way to stay in it after fighting through deuce on two breaks. Hercog went for the set for a second time where she sealed the set win in 48 minutes.
Azarenka opened the second set maintaining her strength on the ball and gaining the lead over her Slovakian counterpart. After five, the Belorussian was still holding control before breaking Hercog in the sixth. She was easily getting through the games to take a 5-2 hold. Hercog was able to get one more win before the former number one who took the set 6-3 shut her down.
With the third left, the Belorussian broke ahead 2-1 but it took plenty of effort as Hercog fought through every rally that was played making games stretch out. After four games had elapsed, it was clear that Azarenka was getting her game together dominating Hercog with her classic gameplay that quickly had her sweeping up the wins.
She blew the Slovakian on serve in the sixth attempting to overwhelm her for the match. The unforced errors kept terrorizing Hercog as she gave Azarenka a triple match point power a ball down the line going off the net in the process. It was a victory celebrated after playing two hours against the Slovakian to move into the second round where she’ll meet another Slovakian in Dominika Cibulkova.