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Azarenka makes wait worthwhile

By Associated Press in Paris | China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-30 07:15


 Azarenka makes wait worthwhile

China's Peng Shuai hits a backhand shot to Italy's Camila Giorgi during a French Open first-round match at Roland Garros in Paris on Wednesday. Peng won 6-4, 6-2. Miguel Medina / Agence France-Presse


Former world No 1 beats Vesnina in match delayed a day by rain

Victoria Azarenka waited until the fourth day of the French Open for her opening match, then showed she's eager to advance.

Filling a mostly empty stadium court with her familiar shrieks on Wednesday, the world's former No 1 player beat Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-1, 6-4 in a match postponed one day because of rain. That meant Azarenka reached the second round 72 hours after some players.

"I felt like I'm one of the last ones to start," she said. "It was a long wait, but I think performance-wise it was a good match."

Azarenka waited in vain to play for much of the day on a rainy Tuesday, but said she wasn't flustered by the delay.

"I just really was chilling the whole day, watching 'The Voice,'" she said. "It was incredible. I was so entertained. There's this girl, her name is Judith. She was a duet singer with Michael Jackson. She's absolutely incredible. I mean, I have no idea how sounds like that can come out of somebody's mouth. It's just, wow."

Fans might say the same thing about Azarenka, who wore down Vesnina with her noisy but steady baseline game, committing only 13 unforced errors. Vesnina, ranked 38th, fell to 1-19 against top-five players and has yet to take a set in five matches against Azarenka.

Azarenka needed only half an hour to win the first set, fell behind in the second, then finished with several booming strokes and a fist pump. Addressing the crowd afterward, she tried to match rival Serena Williams' feat of speaking French to the spectators, but stumbled.

"I know 'Je t'aime, Paris,' and I know 'Allez,'" she told the fans with a laugh. "Merci beaucoup."

Later, Azarenka said she doesn't mind the heavily favored Williams being the focus in the women's draw.

"Serena always has attention, no matter where she is," Azarenka said. "She has been around the game so much and the No 1 player in the world. It's usual. For me it's important to show up for my job. Whatever is going on around, it's just entertaining for people. But I'm just focused on what I do and nobody else, really."

The Australian Open champion in each of the past two years, the No 3-seeded Azarenka is hoping for a breakthrough at Roland Garros, the only major where she has yet to reach a semifinal.

No 4-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska eliminated Mallory Burdette of the United States 6-3, 6-2.

In other first-round matches, No 7 Petra Kvitova outlasted wild card Aravane Rezai of France, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2, and No 12 Maria Kirilenko beat fellow Russian Nina Bratchikova 6-0, 6-1. No 23 Klara Zakopalova lost to Kaia Kanepi 7-6 (3), 6-2.

In men's second-round play, No 4 David Ferrer broke serve eight times and beat fellow Spaniard Albert Montanes 6-2, 6-1, 6-3. No 6 seed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France beat Jarkko Nieminen of Finland, 7-6 (6), 6-4, 6-3. No 10 Marin Cilic defeated 18-year-old Australian Nick Kyrgios 6-4, 6-2, 6-2.


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