Victoria Azarenka will take insider info into her upcoming match at the Miami Masters against top seed Ash Barty after sealing a fourth-round place on Saturday.
The former world No. 1 from Belarus with two Australian Open trophies in her resume, advanced with a defeat of treble Grand Slam winner Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-2 after 93 minutes and six breaks of the German’s serve.
WTA No. 1 Barty defeated Jelena Ostapenko in a contest between former Roland Garros champions 6-3, 6-2.
Barty and Azarenka teamed in doubles during the 2019 season, winning a title and playing two other finals – including the US Open.
There will be no secrets on court when the pair meet with the winner advancing to the Miami quarter-finals.
But locally based Azarenka still harbours some doubts about the match.
“With the pandemic and the restrictions in Australia, we haven’t seen much of her,” she said of Barty, playing outside of her home nation for the first time in a year.
“It’s hard to judge where her game is at. She’s very talented and has a lot of variety in all of her shots.
“It should be a great match.”
The 14th-seeded Azarenka, a three-time Miami winner, came from 4-1 down in the opening set against Kerber before finally prevailing over her longtime opponent for the ninth time in 10 career meetings,
Azarena won six of the last seven games in the opening set and concluded her victory with three breaks of serve in the second set on the way to victory.
“It’s always a huge battle, never an easy match against Angelique,” Azarenka said. “We always have quality matches
“I managed to take my chances against her.
Azarenka’s seventh-seeded Belarus compatriot Aryna Sabalenka also reached the fourth round through a win over Veronika Kudermetova 7-6(4), 6-4.
That match was a re-run of this season’s Abu Dhabi final, won by Sabalenka over the Russian.
“It definitely was a battle and she played really well,” the winner said.
“I kept telling myself to play aggressive, keep going and put pressure on her. I just kept saying that to myself and it worked really well today.”
Main photo:- Vika Azarenka to face Ash Barty in fourth round – by WTA Tennis.com