Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Australian Open Day 4: Azarenka ousts Wozniacki

Victoria Azarenka has rebounded after suffering
from injuries last year. 2014 photo by Paul Bauman
   Upset of the day -- Victoria Azarenka is back. In a matchup of former No. 1 players, Azarenka dispatched eighth-seeded Caroline Wozniacki 6-4, 6-2 on Wednesday (PST in the United States) in the second round in Melbourne. Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 but was hobbled by foot and knee injuries last year.
   Match of the day -- Top-seeded Serena Williams saved three set points, then won the last 10 games to beat Vera Zvonareva of Russia 7-5, 6-0. Zvonareva, a two-time Grand Slam runner-up, reached a career-high No. 2 in the world in 2010 but  missed all of 2013 and most of 2014 after shoulder surgery. 
   Notable -- Williams wasn't the only No. 1 seed to reel off numerous straight games in a win at Rod Laver Arena. Novak Djokovic won the first nine games in his 6-0, 6-1, 6-4 win over Andrey Kuznetsov of Russia.
   Men's seeded winners -- No. 1 Novak Djokovic, No. 4 Stan Wawrinka (defending champion), No. 5 Kei Nishikori, No. 8 Milos Raonic, No. 9 David Ferrer, No. 12 Feliciano Lopez, No. 18 Gilles Simon, No. 19 John Isner, No. 31 Fernando Verdasco.
   Men's seeded losers -- No. 13 Roberto Bautista Agut, No. 17 Gael Monfils, No. 30 Santiago Giraldo. 
   Women's seeded winners -- No. 1 Serena Williams, No. 4 Petra Kvitova, No. 6 Agnieszka Radwanska, No. 11 Dominika Cibulkova, No. 18 Venus Williams, No. 19 Alize Cornet, No. 24 Garbine Muguruza, No. 25 Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, No. 26 Elina Svitolina, No. 30 Varvara Lepchenko.
   Women's seeded losers -- No. 20 Samantha Stosur, No. 29 Casey Dellacqua. 
   U.S. report -- Three Americans knocked off seeds. CoCo Vandeweghe topped No. 20 Samantha Stosur of Australia 6-4, 6-4, Madison Keys eliminated No. 29 Dellacqua of Australia 2-6, 6-1, 6-1, and Steve Johnson dismantled No. 30 Giraldo of Colombia 6-3, 6-4, 6-2. The United States has seven women (Serena Williams, Venus Williams, Lepchenko, Vandeweghe, Keys, Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Madison Brengle) and two men (Isner and Johnson) in the third round.
   Northern California connection -- Nicole Gibbs, the 2012 and 2013 NCAA singles champion from Stanford, lost to 26th-seeded Elina Svitolina of Ukraine 7-6 (3), 7-6 (6). Fifth-seeded Racquel Kops-Jones, from San Jose and Cal, and Abigail Spears handled Australian wild cards Kimberly Birrell and Priscilla Hon 6-3, 7-5. Kops-Jones and Spears reached the semifinals last year. Johnson and Sam Querrey, a San Francisco native and veteran of the now-defunct Sacramento Capitals in World TeamTennis, lost to Italians Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini 5-7, 6-4, 6-3. 
   Fast facts -- Qualifier Marius Copil of Romania pounded a 150.4-mph (242-kph) serve, the 11th-fastest ever, in his 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-3 loss to Wawrinka. Radwanska dismissed Johanna Larsson of Sweden 6-0, 6-1 in 44 minutes, the fastest match of the tournament. 
   Quote -- Wozniacki: "I think I've gotten a curse here. I've made semis, then quarters, then fourth round, then third round, this year second round (in the past five years). Obviously, it was a tough draw for both of us. But she played better and came out on top."

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