SONY ERICSSON OPEN 2012
Azarenka Winning Streak Hits 24
by Peter Holehan|
Two-time Sony Ericsson Open winner and World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka fought off Michaella Krajicek 6-3, 7-5, to run her winning streak to 24 consecutive matches.
It’s the best start to a season since Martina Hingis opened 1997 with a 37-match winning streak before losing in the final of the French Open. Steffi Graf holds the best start to a season in the open era when she reeled off 45 wins in 1987.
Azarenka, 22, is bidding to become just the third player to win the Indian Wells-Miami double in the same year after Graf (1994, 1996) and Clijsters (2005). Azarenka had one less winner than Krajicek (22-21) and each player tallied four aces.
But in the critical moments, the Belarusian was opportunistic just enough by coming through on six of 12 break point chances.
“Well, I felt like she started, you know, to really go for her shots,” Azarenka said. “Because, I mean, I was up with a break. I felt like she didn't have - she had nothing to lose, so she went for her shots; she was really aggressive. And me, I kinda stepped back and was, you know, thinking about too much and waiting for her mistake instead of really creating my opportunity. That's how I felt.”
When the score became tied at five games apiece in the second set, that’s when Azarenka went into a finishers’ mind set.
“She [Krajicek] played some great games,” Azarenka said. “I think I could have been more aggressive and play more my game, but, you know, I found the right shot selection and the right opportunities when I needed at 5 4 and 5 All; from 5 All I felt like my game was back, you know. So it was important to pick up and raise the level at the end of the match when I really needed it.”
Krajicek came undone on much of her own merit by committing 32 unforced errors and double faulting on nine occasions.
Fifth ranked Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland breezed past Boca Raton resident Madison Keys 6-1, 6-1 in one hour and two minutes.
Radwanska’s powerful serve proved to be too much to handle for Keys as the eight-time WTA title winner won on her first serve an efficient 85 percent rate (22 of 26).
Keys’ undoing was that she committed 47 unforced errors and four double faults.
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