SANTA PONSA, June 21, 2017
After more than a year away from competition, Victoria Azarenka returned from maternity leave and earned a tight first round win over Japanese Risa Ozaki at the WTA Mallorca Open on Wednesday. After saving three match points, the former World No. 1 from Belarus pulled off a 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 win.
The match started on Tuesday but was suspended due to bad light later in the evening. Ozaki resumed play, serving for the match at 5-4 in the final set but Azarenka fought back to prevail in two hours and 44 minutes.
“I just had to play the same way I started the match”, said Azarenka. “Start to be aggressive, I started watching the ball too much and not really hitting the ball so there were a lot of easy mistakes where I didn’t finish the ball so I had to really focus on that and definitely today I had to step up with my mentality because it was good in the beginning but definitely dropped in the second set. I just need to maintain the same intensity even if the game doesn’t go right for me.”
The 27-year-old will next face seventh seed Ana Konjuh of Croatia.
“I definitely felt better on the tennis court, especially playing-wise. I wouldn’t say I had the best preparation coming to this tournament, but mentally, it’s better to go through this kind of a match.”