By Yuri Karpenko
Our Belarusian tennis leader is now seeded fourth, the highest ever ranking for our tennis players. In the quarter-finals of the Madrid event, Victoria beat Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic in three sets, and knocked out Julia Georges of Germany in the semi-finals. “I was strongly motivated to win this match, showing my best tennis of the season,” stressed Azarenko. “I had to set the pace and prevent her from dominating, which worked.”
In the finals, Victoria confronted Petra Kvitova, playing for 100 minutes. Both lost their serves and the Czech player managed to realise four break-points, while Victoria had only three. A tie break settled the match, with Kvitova claiming victory. She had been stronger in the decisive matches of the second set. “Petra had an excellent week and deserved this win,” emphasised Azarenko after the match. “There were moments when I could have played more skilfully but tennis is tennis. She was stronger today.”
Commenting on her world ranking of fourth, Victoria noted, “It’s nice to feel part of your home country. There are many tennis schools in Belarus and I’m pleased to realise that the upcoming generation sees me as an example, among others. I will do my best to improve.”
In the doubles event in Madrid, Victoria and Russia’s Maria Kirilenko defeated Czech Kveta Peschke and Slovenia’s Katarina Srebotnik. In the quarter-finals, the Belarusian-Russian duo knocked out first seeded Italian Flavia Pennetta and Gisela Dulko from Argentina.