French Open Day 7, R3 Match Preview: Serena Williams v Victoria Azarenka

AzarenkaThe potential women’s match that jumped out of the drawsheet has become a reality with Serena Williams to play Victoria Azarenka on Saturday. Serena and Vika have played at all three Slams, but this will be their first clash on the Parisien clay. Serena had another second round RG scare, but this time survived. Serena lost the first set of her second rounder to Anna-Lena Friedsam. She prevailed, not playing anywhere remotely close to her best, 5-7 6-3 6-3. A win is a win. Azarenka has been much more impressive with straight set wins over Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, 6-2 6-1 and Lucie Hradecka, 6-2 6-3. Azarenka was taken to three sets by Hradecka in Rome, but had a much more convincing win this time round. I was impressed with her performance against Torro-Flor and her eagerness to come into the net is always great to see.

I’m really looking forward to this match, particularly after missing their match in Madrid. Fourth match up, i’m planning my day around it! In Spain, Azarenka failed to convert on three match points in a thrilling three setter. Serena eventually won, 7-6(5) 3-6 7-6(1). It was a tough loss for Vika who has had some mental wobbles lately. Personally, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about. She is still making her way back to her best form and i’m surprised she hasn’t played more tournaments as, in my opinion, it’s matches that she needs. If Serena comes out and plays how she did against Friedsam, there’s no doubt Vika wins.

Form at this tournament would strongly point to Vika but i’m struggling to write off Serena right now. She was unfancied at the Australian Open and came through a tough draw to win. This is a big clash and Serena rarely fails to turn up for these types of matches. I’d fancy the winner of this match to go all the way to the final. Serena for the win…

Prediction: S.Williams d. Azarenka in 3 sets

22 thoughts on “French Open Day 7, R3 Match Preview: Serena Williams v Victoria Azarenka

  1. Both players will be ‘up for this match’.I hope Vika can forget her last match with Serena,where her serve let her down big time.Vika’s serve,especially her 2nd serve has always been a weakness in her game.Vika is one of the best returners in the womens game,she is facing the best server in the womens game,I am hoping for a competitive match.Serena to win.

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  2. I think this match is closer than the previous ones. I consider this is a 50/50 match. Vika will take one set out from Serena.

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  3. Am I crazy for thinking Serena had an agenda in the last match? I mean, OK, she’s getting older, she had these injuries lately, she withdrew from Rome etc, but Friedsam? Come on. Serena WILL show up today against Vika. Her R3 match was probably just strategy to throw Vika off, to give her enough confidence in detriment of focus that she’s going to find a faulty version of Serena on court today.

    Will be a tight match, but I think Serena will still come out victorious out of it. She has something that other players really really don’t. Most other players, even my beloved Simona. She knows that the perfect time to peak is during Slams. Sure, throughout the season titles and matches are nice and fun, but those 8000 points in slams are what make or break your year in most cases. That’s why she has no issue pulling out of tournaments or simply not signing up for them. She just knows HOW and WHAT to focus on and that’s what brought her 19 slam titles so far. I am not a fan of her, but not admitting she really got game and strategy would be pretty stupid of me.

    Serena in 2 tight ones.

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    • Alex, Serena seems to have this weird weakness against Azarenka. On paper she should destroy her and yet she keeps getting drawn into these long, tough, three set matches and she always has. She even mentioned it recently.

      If Serena wins then I believe she’s winning the title. If Azarenka wins then I think it’ll go to the other side of the draw.

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      • I know Andrew, but somehow, I told you, I think it’s part-strategy this time. This is a Slam, not a regular tournament and I believe Serena is really motivated this time. That “20” number is too shiny.

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      • Honestly, I feel Serena just wants to get through match by match. If her performance against Friedsam was an oddity that will be great, but I believe she is really having difficulty finding her rhythm. Victoria’s lapses have seemed more like a lack of match fitness or play to me. If she beats Serena, I believe she can find her way to the title. Sharapova will always be a challenge to any of them, she never seems to fail to find the motivation even whiles she was suffering with illness. She’s just drawn to this French title.

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      • Would you not fancy Kvitova or Ivanovic? Both starting out with tough matches but visibly growing in confidence as the tournament progresses. I feel like Ivanovic would have crowd support in a semi vs Maria and being the underdog would relieve pressure. And Kvitova could dismantle Azarenka’s serve, as she’s so solid in her own service games.

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      • I for one wouldn’t favour Ana over Maria with all the crowd support in the world. Why? Because for Ana it really is all in her head. She can have 12000 people cheering, if she misses a shot next time, everything that she’s built in her head crumbles like a sand castle. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, she got mad skills, but in a confrontation with a motivated Masha not many people can come out swinging. She’s like a pitbull that clenches on and never lets go till death. Heck… champion material.

        Kvitova on the other hand, if she keeps growing in form she still has a few “doable” matches till the big showdown. She definitely has a chance if I am wrong about Serena and she’s shaky, or even Vika.

        To be true, I don’t see a change in hell Masha doesn’t make the finals this year, particularly with how her half cleans up these days. But on the top half… it’s still free for all!

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      • Well Ana crumbles when she’s losing and she’s the favourite to win. But her head to head versus top ten players in the past 12 months is really healthy, aside from Serena Williams, and she’s beaten Maria a few times lately.

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      • Most likely it will come down to mind games. If Serena goes out the biggest Cheer will probably come from Maria Sharapova. She will likely feel emboldened. This is what might trouble Ana Ivanovic. Ana has played great so far, especially in second and third sets but her competition has also been ‘seemingly’ average relatively to the very top girls. I don’t want to jinx her but ahhhh…….Maria is there. Ana will have to play ‘zone’ tennis.

        This is why the Serena vs Vika match is important, it will affect the rest of the draw for all the top girls. Personally I would have gone for Kvitova over Azarenka, but the effect of beating Serena( no.1) could be her mental release. At that point anything can happen and she will go for it. It’s a shame this half of the draw is so top heavy. Who is Maria more wary of, Petra or Victoria ?? Victoria can extend the ground strokes( into her favour) and that may be her best weapon.

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  4. It is really a tough match for Serena Williams.
    She made a lot of unforced errors and Vika , with her agressive play can push Serena to make some kind of errors.
    It will be a great match.

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    • Similarly Azarenka has a vulnerable serve and has trouble closing out matches. Serena is ultra aggressive on the return which puts even more pressure.

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    • If these were the hunger games then Maria has them all beat, she wants and needs this for all to be right in her world.

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      • Well said! Her H2H with Serena is probably Masha’s biggest fuel-factor. Unlikely she’ll get to 19 Slams, 10 seems like a huge deal, but she’s really set on making things right, showing the world she’s not “the second best”.

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      • Shes not second best. Not even third or fourth best. She’s way down the list. She is a great fighter though and she certainly brings some star power to the tour, along with the Williams sisters and Ivanovic.

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  5. I have a bad feeling that Serena will have trouble this time. I hope she proves me wrong while I am waiting for the match.

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  6. Another thing is that Serena HATES these long delays before a match and usually comes out playing sluggish after them

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  7. Great turn around Serena after losing the first set to Azarenka,really enjoyed watching the match.I have said this many times regarding Serena,apart from her great tennis skills,her will to win is second to none in this women’s game.

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