Victoria Azarenka Started her third round match that turned into a complete nightmare at the Rogers Cup Thursday. Frustrations with her game and a broken racket caused her to lose focus handing Sara Errani a 7-5, 6-3 straight sets win on centre court. Errani makes it to her eighth consecutive quarterfinal this season
This was the ninth time that the two have met one another and so far the series hasn’t been anywhere close. Azarenka has won the last seven straight with her most recent over the Italian two years ago. In Canada, Errani has been fighting to stay alive in her matches forced to play three sets in her last pair of matches. Though she might give the Belorussian a run in the round of 16, she will have to match the strong power of her serve if she wanted to get the upset.
The Italian took the opening lead of the set but wouldn’t have enough on defense to hold back Azarenka. The Belorussian broke serve on Errani to begin a trade of victories through the set. After six games, the set was still tied with Azarenka the one to break first. Errani played the tail end on even games to stay level with the Belorussian while trying to find a way to break forward.
Errani thought she might have Azarenka held back after Game Nine winning the lead, but despite her mistakes, she killed the set chance for the Italian pushing the set to its limit. In a fight for the biggest lead of the set, Errani made the push to play hard for the final point. She brought the ball closer to the net causing a volley between her and Azarenka that she ultimately won on the unforced error.
Azarenka began to have a problem at the worst moment with Errani playing for the match at 6-5. She noticed the loss of tension in her racket that caused her to yell for another one as quickly as possible. Forced to play the remainder of the set, Errani set up trick shots that she knew Azarenka was not going to play well on. The success on the strategy paid off giving her a triple set point win the set in 59 minutes.
Errani served at 80 percent looking to have complete control on her end notching nine winners and eight unforced errors. Azarenka faltered with the racket making three double faults and 20 errors.
The frustration of her game rolled into the second set where she recorded three unforced errors in the opening game. It didn’t any better as she continued to record error after error causing her fall 0-3 to Errani. In complete anger after the third loss Azarenka let out a yelp before screaming “Can you [expletive] make it in?!”. The response was grounds for a warning from the umpire and a much needed cool down chat from her coach.
Using what little patience she had left, Azarenka played the set so hard that a point on the line caused her to scream in a more positive manner. She began to calm little by little taking another win under her belt sitting a game down of Errani. She had a brief lead under the serve of Azarenka until a comeback began to peer in. The Belorussian got so close but a double fault brought the game to a close giving the Italian a two game gap.
The gap stood at two until the seventh game when Azarenka won it to break serve on Errani. She couldn’t hold tough on serve when Errani was on the return sitting down a double break before an unforced error put the Italian on serve for the match. Another shot into the net began a nightmare that was nearing its end for the Belorussian.
With her swing of the racket she made her attempts to stay in playing every point like it was the last. When it came to play at deuce, Azarenka saved five match points but not the sixth as the ten minutes of suspense came to an end for Errani to move on in the tournament. The 108 minute match might have looked easy for Errani but despite the countless problems Azarenka had her skills were challenged.
The Italian ended with a 78 percent on the serve with 12 winners and 6 of 9 break points won. Azarenka tallied a total of 39 unforced errors but had an astonishing 32 winners during her points where she tried to rally. While she takes the time to rethink her mistakes on court, Errani will move into her eighth quarterfinal this season facing Lesia Tsurenko on Friday.