Azarenka at the 2015 French Open
|Full name||Victoria Fyodorovna Azarenka|
|Native name||Вікторыя Фёдараўна Азаранка|
|Residence||Manhattan Beach, California, United States|
|Born||31 July 1989|
Minsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union
|Height||6 ft 0 in (183 cm)|
|Plays||Right-handed (two-handed backhand)|
|Coach||Wim Fissete (2018–present)|
|Career record||501–192 (72.3%)|
|Career titles||20 WTA, 1 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 1 (30 January 2012)|
|Current ranking||No. 38 (15 July 2019)|
|Grand Slam Singles results|
|Australian Open||W (2012, 2013)|
|French Open||SF (2013)|
|Wimbledon||SF (2011, 2012)|
|US Open||F (2012, 2013)|
|Tour Finals||F (2011)|
|Career record||155–61 (71.8%)|
|Career titles||8 WTA, 3 ITF|
|Highest ranking||No. 7 (7 July 2008)|
|Current ranking||No. 33 (10 June 2019)|
|Grand Slam Doubles results|
|Australian Open||F (2008, 2011)|
|French Open||F (2009)|
|US Open||2R (2009, 2018)|
|Grand Slam Mixed Doubles results|
|Australian Open||F (2007)|
|French Open||W (2008)|
|US Open||W (2007)|
|Last updated on: 10 June 2019.|
Victória Fyódorovna Azárenka (Belarusian: Вікторыя Фёдараўна Азаранка; Russian: Виктория Фёдоровна Азаренко; born 31 July 1989) is a Belarusian professional tennis player. She is a former world No. 1 in singles and was the year-end No. 1 in 2012. Azarenka has won 20 WTA singles titles, eight WTA doubles titles, and three mixed-doubles titles.
Her other major achievements include winning six Premier Mandatory tournaments including the Sunshine Double in 2016, the singles bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles—the 2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and the 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan—and the gold medal in the mixed doubles at the 2012 Summer Olympics with Max Mirnyi.
- 1 Personal life
- 2 Tennis career
- 2.1 Early career
- 2.2 Junior Grand Slam finals
- 2.3 2006
- 2.4 2007: First WTA final
- 2.5 2008: Australian Open final in doubles
- 2.6 2009: Miami Open title, French Open final in doubles and top 10 debut
- 2.7 2010: Steady ranking
- 2.8 2011: Miami Open title, WTA Tour Championships final
- 2.9 2012: First Major title, two Olympic medals and world No. 1
- 2.10 2013: Second Australian Open title and US Open runner-up
- 2.11 2014–15: Injuries and struggle
- 2.12 2016: Sunshine Double, re-entry into top 5, injuries and pregnancy hiatus
- 2.13 2017: Return to tour, then custody battle
- 2.14 2018: Return to top 100, Wimbledon mixed-doubles final
- 2.15 2019
- 3 Endorsements and earnings
- 4 Playing style and coaching
- 5 Rivalries
- 6 Career statistics
- 7 See also
- 8 References
- 9 External links
At age 15, Azarenka moved full-time to Scottsdale, Arizona, United States, from Minsk, Belarus, to train and live. In this she was aided by National Hockey League goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife, who is a friend of Azarenka's mother. In 2012, she became registered in Monaco but in August 2013 she purchased a large ocean-overlooking house as her principal residence where she lives in Manhattan Beach, California. Azarenka is fluent in Belarusian, Russian, and English and has some handling of French and Ukrainian.
Azarenka dated American musician Redfoo between late 2012 and early 2014. Azarenka has spoken openly about her experience of depression during her injury-induced absence from professional tennis in 2014.
Azarenka and former boyfriend Billy McKeague, have one son, Leo, born 19 December 2016. Following his split from her immediately after 2017 Wimbledon, they became involved in a complicated legal child custody case for their son in Los Angeles in August 2017. Azarenka then withdrew from remaining 2017 tournaments.
In January 2018 a tabloid news website reported that Azarenka had won an early round of the U.S. custody proceedings where a Los Angeles County judge ruled that McKeague and Azarenka's child custody case should not take place in Los Angeles County of their U.S. born son but in Belarus. In April 2018 Azarenka returned to the tour, competing in Europe in the Madrid Open, the Italian Open, and later the French Open.
In December 2018, California Courts of Appeal ruled that Los Angeles County Superior Court has jurisdiction over their child custody case, overturning the initial Los Angeles County Superior Court Belarus jurisdiction decision.
Azarenka debuted on the ITF junior tour in November 2003 in Israel, winning one doubles title with countrywoman Olga Govortsova. At Wimbledon, Azarenka reached the semifinals of the girls' competition, only to be defeated by eventual runner-up Ana Ivanovic, despite having two match points in the marathon third set. She continued to participate in ITF tournaments in 2004, and at the end of the season she had a rank of 508 on WTA singles tour.
Azarenka had a successful year in 2005, winning two junior Grand Slams: the Australian (she would eventually win the seniors' competition in 2012 and 2013) and US championships. She ended the season as the junior world No. 1 and was named the 2005 World Champion by the ITF, becoming the first Belarusian to do so. In addition, she reached her first semifinal on the main tour in Guangzhou, China. She went from the qualifying draw of the tournament to the main draw, where she defeated Martina Suchá and Peng Shuai, before losing to the eventual champion Yan Zi.
Junior Slam results:
Junior Grand Slam finals
Singles: 2 (2 titles)
|Winner||2005||Australian Open||Hard||Ágnes Szávay||6–2, 6–2|
|Winner||2005||US Open||Hard||Alexa Glatch||6–3, 6–4|
Doubles: 4 (4 titles)
|Winner||2004||Wimbledon||Grass||Olga Govortsova|| Marina Erakovic
|6–4, 3–6, 6–4|
|Winner||2005||Australian Open||Hard||Marina Erakovic|| Nikola Fraňková
|Winner||2005||French Open||Clay||Ágnes Szávay|| Raluca-Ioana Olaru
|4–6, 6–4, 6–0|
|Winner||2005||Wimbledon (2)||Grass||Ágnes Szávay|| Marina Erakovic
|6–7(5–7), 6–2, 6–0|
In February 2006 in Memphis, Azarenka defeated her first top-20 player, Nicole Vaidišová, and defeated her second top-30 player in Jelena Janković at Miami that same year. On clay, Azarenka pushed 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina to a third set in Rome, and took clay-court specialist Anabel Medina Garrigues to 9–7 in the third set in the first round at Roland Garros. At the 2006 Wimbledon Championships Azarenka lost in 1st round to 2005 Junior Wimbledon and 2006 Junior French Open Champion and Wildcard Agnieszka Radwańska. 2006 US Open, she had her first win over Myskina in the first round, and lost to Anna Chakvetadze in the third round, her best result in a Grand Slam event to that date. In her next tournament, Azarenka reached her second pro-level semifinal in Tashkent, losing to Sun Tiantian. She finished the year reaching the final of an ITF event in Pittsburgh, losing to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak.
2007: First WTA final
Ranked world No. 96, Azarenka began the year by playing two tournaments in Australia. She lost in the second round of qualifying at the Moorilla Hobart International. At the Australian Open, Azarenka reached the third round of a Grand Slam singles tournament for the second consecutive time, where she lost to world No. 11 Jelena Janković in straight sets.
At the US Open, Azarenka upset former world No. 1 Martina Hingis in the third round, before 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat her in the fourth round. In mixed doubles, Azarenka and countryman Max Mirnyi won the title, defeating Meghann Shaughnessy and Leander Paes.
She ended her year at the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, where she defeated world No. 4 Maria Sharapova in the second round, in their first meeting. She then lost to the eventual winner of the tournament, world No. 14 Elena Dementieva, in the quarterfinal. At the same tournament, Azarenka and her doubles partner Tatiana Poutchek, also of Belarus, lost in the final to the world No. 3 team of Liezel Huber and Cara Black in three sets. Azarenka's results at the Kremlin Cup elevated her rankings to career highs of world No. 27 in singles and world No. 29 in doubles.
2008: Australian Open final in doubles
Azarenka began the year at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts tournament in Gold Coast. Unseeded, she reached the semifinals, where she beat fifth-seeded Shahar Pe'er of Israel, Azarenka's sixth top-20 victory. In her third career WTA Tour final, she lost to Li Na, but the points she earned in this tournament were enough to improve her ranking to a career-best world No. 25.
Azarenka was seeded 26th at the Australian Open. This was her first appearance as a seeded player in a Grand Slam singles tournament. She showed no ill effects from a leg injury while winning her first two matches, but lost in the third round to seventh-seeded, defending champion and future rival Serena Williams. In doubles, Azarenka and her partner Pe'er were seeded 12th. They made it to the finals, before losing to the unseeded team of Kateryna and Alona Bondarenko.
Azarenka entered the French Open as the form player of the clay court season, having reached the semifinals in Berlin and the quarterfinals in Rome. Seeded 16th, she won her first three matches in straight sets, for the loss of only six games. In the second round, she defeated Sorana Cîrstea of Romania, before defeating 18th-seeded and future French Open champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the third round. She then lost to fourth-seeded Kuznetsova in the fourth round. Azarenka teamed with American Bob Bryan to win the mixed doubles title at the French Open, defeating the top seeded team of Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjić in the final.
At Wimbledon, Azarenka was seeded 16th in singles and 6th in doubles (with Pe'er). In singles, Azarenka was defeated by 21st-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia in the third round in two close tiebreaks. In doubles, Azarenka and Pe'er reached the quarterfinals, where they lost to the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber. At the Olympic tennis tournament in Beijing, Azarenka lost to Venus Williams in the third round. Azarenka was seeded 14th at the US Open, but was defeated by 21st seed Caroline Wozniacki in the third round.
2009: Miami Open title, French Open final in doubles and top 10 debut
Azarenka began the year at the Brisbane International as the second seed. She defeated Kateryna Bondarenko, Jarmila Groth, Lucie Šafářová, and Sara Errani, all in straight sets to reach her fifth career final. In the final, Azarenka defeated third seed Marion Bartoli to win her first WTA career title. Azarenka was seeded 13th at the Australian Open. She advanced to the fourth round for the first time, winning the first set against world No. 2 Serena Williams, before she was forced to retire because of heat stress.
At the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Azarenka was seeded second. She won her second WTA title by beating her doubles partner and top seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Afterwards, Wozniacki and Azarenka won the doubles title, beating Michaëlla Krajicek and Yuliana Fedak in the final. At the BNP Paribas Open, Azarenka was seeded 8th and reached the semifinals, where she lost to her doubles partner and eventual champion Vera Zvonareva. Because of her performance at this tournament, Azarenka improved her singles ranking to a career-best world No. 10. She is the second woman from Belarus ever to be ranked that high, following Natasha Zvereva who was ranked world No. 5 in the late 1980s. At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Azarenka was seeded 11th. She defeated world No. 1 and two-time defending champion, Serena Williams, in the final in straight sets. This was Azarenka's first Tier I or Premier Mandatory event title. Azarenka also became the sixth teenage female singles champion in the history of this tournament, with the others being Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Gabriela Sabatini. By winning this tournament, Azarenka's ranking increased to a new career high of world No. 8.
Her next tournament was on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, where she lost to Gisela Dulko in the second round. At the Italian Open, Azarenka lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semifinals. At Roland Garros, Azarenka was seeded ninth. She ousted defending champion Ana Ivanovic in the fourth round, and advanced to her first Grand Slam quarterfinal, where she fell to top seed Dinara Safina in three sets. With her partner Elena Vesnina, Azarenka made the final of the ladies doubles at Roland Garros. In the final, they lost to the Spanish pairing of Garrigues and Ruano Pascual. She withdrew from her first match at the Aegon International, the warm-up for Wimbledon, citing a hip injury. Azarenka was seeded eighth at Wimbledon. She fell to second seed and eventual winner Serena Williams in the quarterfinals.
Receiving a bye in the first round at the Los Angeles, Azarenka fell to Maria Sharapova. In Cincinnati, Azarenka lost to Jelena Janković in the third round, committing 11 double faults. At the Rogers Cup in Toronto, she was seeded ninth. She lost to returning Kim Clijsters in the second round. At the US Open, Azarenka was seeded eighth. She fell to Francesca Schiavone in the third round. Seeded eighth at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, she lost to Li Na in the quarterfinals, in a third set tiebreak, giving up a 5–1 lead in the first set. In her next tournament the China Open, Azarenka was seeded ninth. She lost in the second round to recent Tokyo champion Maria Sharapova, while serving for the match twice. She intended to play the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, but she withdrew. At the year-end Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Azarenka vanquished Jelena Janković in her first-round robin-match. In her second match, however, Azarenka was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki. Azarenka failed to convert a match point in the final set in which she led by a break on four occasions. Azarenka also conceded her serve at 5–5, to leave Wozniacki serving for the match after receiving a point penalty for racket abuse. Due to her loss to Wozniacki, Azarenka had to defeat second alternate Agnieszka Radwańska to qualify for the semifinals. She led with a double break, before going on to lose nine of the next ten games, eventually conceding the match after severe cramping in the third set forced her to retire while trailing in the third set.
Azarenka ended the year ranked world No. 7, with a 45–15 win-loss record, having won three titles and qualified for the year-end championships for the first time in her career. On 15 December, Azarenka split with long-time coach António van Grichen.
2010: Steady ranking
Azarenka began the season at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic exhibition. She was part of Team Europe, along with Caroline Wozniacki and Stefan Edberg. In her first match, she defeated Gisela Dulko. The match was played best of one set due to rain. She withdrew from her remaining matches due to illness. She was seeded sixth at the Medibank International. She won her first three matches but in the semifinals, she fell to fifth seed Elena Dementieva.
At the Australian Open, she was seeded seventh. In the fourth round against ninth seed Vera Zvonareva she rallied to win, but lost to Serena Williams in the quarterfinal. Azarenka was up a set and four games before Williams came back to win in three sets. This was the third consecutive year she has lost to Williams at this tournament. Seeded fourth at the Dubai Tennis Championships, on her way to the final, she defeated Vera Zvonareva in the quarterfinals and Agnieszka Radwańska in the semifinals. In the final, she lost to defending champion Venus Williams. At the BNP Paribas Open, she was seeded third, but was upset in the third round by María José Martínez Sánchez. At the Sony Ericsson Open, where she was the defending champion and fourth seed, she lost in fourth round to 14th seed and eventual champion Kim Clijsters. This was the fourth match in the five tournaments this year that Azarenka lost to eventual champions.
At the Andalucia Tennis Experience, she was the top seed but had to retire in her quarterfinal match against María José Martínez Sánchez, due to a left thigh injury. Seeded third at the Family Circle Cup, she had to retire from her first match while leading against qualifier Christina McHale. At the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, she was upset in the second round by qualifier Anna Lapushchenkova, who was ranked No. 138 at the time. At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, as the ninth seed, Azarenka was defeated by Ana Ivanovic. As the tenth seed at the Madrid Open, Azarenka retired from her first round match against Peng Shuai with a groin injury. At the 2010 French Open, coming back from injury, Azarenka was defeated in the first round by unseeded Gisela Dulko. As she reached the quarterfinals in 2009, this loss caused Azarenka to drop to world No. 15. Azarenka was unseeded at the Aegon International. Still struggling with injuries, Azarenka fell to qualifier Ekaterina Makarova in the final.
Azarenka was seeded 14th at Wimbledon. She lost to eventual semifinalist Petra Kvitová in the third round. The defeat dropped Azarenka to world No. 18, as she was defending quarterfinal points from 2009.
–Victoria Azarenka after her first round loss to Ana Ivanovic in Cincinnati.
To begin the summer hard-court season, Azarenka competed in the Bank of the West Classic as a wild card and eighth seed. Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova in the final, after defeating top seed Samantha Stosur in the semifinals, to win her first title since April 2009. The win propelled Azarenka to world No. 12. Despite being the favourite to win the Mercury Insurance Open, Azarenka withdrew to recover from a right shoulder injury. Seeded ninth at the Western & Southern Financial Group Masters and Women's Open, Azarenka was stunned in the first round by world No. 62 Ana Ivanovic, despite serving for the match twice in the second set, and being within two points of victory on Ivanovic's serve; it was Azarenka's second defeat by Ivanovic in 2010. However, she won the doubles title, partnering with Maria Kirilenko, defeating Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs. 1 September 2010, daytime, at the US Open, during her second round against Gisela Dulko, Azarenka collapsed on the court. There were concerns that the cause of the fall was heat-related. Azarenka was taken to a local hospital for treatment and was diagnosed with a concussion after hitting her head whilst warming up before the match during a sprint exercise. Azarenka won only seven Grand Slam matches for the entire year, matching her 2007 tally.
At the Toray Pan Pacific Open, she lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals in three sets. Azarenka re-entered the top 10 after this run. At the China Open, Azarenka retired in her second-round match to Timea Bacsinszky. At the Kremlin Cup Azarenka, as the second seed, defeated Maria Kirilenko in the final, coming back from 4–0 down in the second set to win her fifth career title. Azarenka's performance in Moscow qualified her for the year-end Tour Championships, where she was in the White Group as the eighth seed. In her first round-robin match, Azarenka lost to Vera Zvonareva, and then lost to Kim Clijsters in her second match. This assured that she did not qualify for the semifinals. In her final match of the tournament and season, she defeated Janković for the second year in a row. Azarenka ended the year as world No. 10, her second consecutive year-end top-10 finish. Azarenka then took part in a charitable exhibition match in mid-November with Caroline Wozniacki, beating the Dane at the Sports Palace in her hometown of Minsk.
2011: Miami Open title, WTA Tour Championships final
Azarenka began her year at the Medibank International as the seventh seed, where she lost to Kim Clijsters in the quarterfinals. At the 2011 Australian Open Azarenka was seeded eighth. She lost to the ninth seed and eventual finalist, Li Na in the fourth round. Azarenka partnered with Maria Kirilenko in the women's doubles event, but the pair lost to Gisela Dulko and Flavia Pennetta in the final. Azarenka then travelled to Israel to compete in Fed Cup. Belarus beat Croatia, Austria, and Greece in the group stage, without losing a match. The Belarusian team then defeated Poland 2–0 to qualify for the World Group II play-Offs in April where they played Estonia.
Azarenka's next tournament was the Dubai Tennis Championships, where she was seeded seventh. She lost to Flavia Pennetta in the third round. Azarenka then competed at the Qatar Ladies Open as the sixth seed, but lost to Daniela Hantuchová in the first round in three sets. Azarenka's next event was the BNP Paribas Open, where she competed as the eighth seed. She retired in the quarterfinals against world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, whilst trailing 0–3, due to a left leg injury. She also became the second person to defeat both Radwańska sisters in the same tournament. Azarenka then competed at the Sony Ericsson Open as the eighth seed. She reached her second final at the event, where she defeated sixteenth seed Maria Sharapova to win the title.
At the Andalucia Tennis Experience, Azarenka was the top seed and dropped only fourteen games on her way to the final. She defeated Irina-Camelia Begu in the final. Azarenka's victory, and Sam Stosur's inability to defend her points at Charleston, ensured that Azarenka would reach a career high of world No. 5. She then participated in Belarus' 5–0 win over Estonia in the Fed Cup. In her next tournament the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix, Azarenka retired after winning the first set of her first match, ending her 12-match winning streak. At the Madrid Masters, Azarenka was seeded fourth. She lost in the final in straight sets to Petra Kvitová, but still rose to a career-high world No. 4. Azarenka then reached the quarterfinals of the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, where she was up a set before retiring to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.
Azarenka was the fourth seed at the French Open. She beat Andrea Hlaváčková in the first round, Pauline Parmentier in the second round, 30th seed Roberta Vinci in the third round, and Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round to reach her fourth career Grand Slam quarterfinal. She lost to Li Na in the quarterfinals. Azarenka was the fourth seed at Wimbledon. She beat 25th seed Daniela Hantuchová in a three-set third-round match, before beating Nadia Petrova. She followed that up with an easy victory over Tamira Paszek, advancing to the semifinals of a Grand Slam for the first time. Azarenka was beaten by Czech player and eventual champion Petra Kvitová, going down in three sets.
Her next tournament was the Bank of the West Classic, where she was the defending champion and top seed. Azarenka was ousted by 124th-ranked Marina Erakovic from New Zealand in the second round. Despite her 'horrible match' in singles, Azarenka claimed the doubles title with partner Kirilenko. The next tournament Azarenka played was the Rogers Cup, where she was seeded fourth. After a bye, Azarenka crushed Stéphanie Dubois, María José Martínez Sánchez, and Galina Voskoboeva, before being stopped by Serena Williams in the semifinals. Azarenka reached the doubles final with Kirilenko, but the team was forced to withdraw because of a hand injury to Azarenka. Azarenka pulled out of the Western & Southern Open with the same injury.
Azarenka's next tournament was the US Open, where she was seeded fourth. She made it to the third round, where she was defeated by 28th seed and eventual runner-up Serena Williams. Despite the early loss, she reached a new career high of No. 3 in the world. Azarenka reached the semifinals of the Pan Pacific Open, losing to eventual champion Agnieszka Radwańska. In doing so she qualified for the year-end championships in Istanbul. The Belarusian participated in the China Open, the last of the four mandatory events for 2011, as the second seed. She defeated Polona Hercog in the second round, after receiving a first-round bye. She then withdrew from the tournament citing a right foot strain.
Azarenka would win her third title of the year at the Luxembourg Open, defeating Monica Niculescu in the final. Azarenka was placed in the White Group at the Tour Championships. She beat Samantha Stosur and Li Na in her first two Round Robin matches. She secured the move to the semifinals despite her loss in three sets to Marion Bartoli, a substitute for Maria Sharapova. She then beat Vera Zvonareva to move to the final where she lost to Petra Kvitová in three sets.
2012: First Major title, two Olympic medals and world No. 1
Azarenka claimed her first title of the season at the Apia International Sydney as the third seed. She defeated her first three opponents, Stefanie Vögele, Jelena Janković and Marion Bartoli all in straight sets to advance to the semifinals where she defeated the seventh seed, Agnieszka Radwańska in three sets to reach the final. She defeated the defending champion Li Na in three sets.
Azarenka competed at the Australian Open as the third seed, defeating Heather Watson, Casey Dellacqua, Mona Barthel and Iveta Benešová in the first four rounds without dropping a set. In the quarterfinals, Azarenka faced a sterner test against world No. 8 Agnieszka Radwańska but won in three sets. She then defeated the eleventh seed and defending champion Kim Clijsters to reach her first Major singles final, where she faced the world No. 4 Maria Sharapova. After a nervous start Azarenka proceeded to win the last nine games to win the title. Azarenka recorded her first Grand Slam singles title and became the world No. 1 (with effect from 30 January 2012) in the same match.
Her first tournament as world number one was the Qatar Total Open. She won her third title of the year in Doha, defeating Sam Stosur in the final. Azarenka planned to compete at the Dubai Tennis Championships. However, after a bye in the first round, she withdrew from the tournament due to an ankle injury. In March, she played in the BNP Paribas Open, where she was the top seed. In a re-run of the 2012 Australian Open decider, her opponent in the final was world No. 2 Maria Sharapova, and once again, Azarenka won in straight sets, thus extending her undefeated record in 2012 to 23–0. Azarenka´s streak ended in the quarters of the Sony Ericsson Open in a straight set loss against Marion Bartoli. Her record for consecutive wins was 26–0.
In April, she competed at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Making it to the semifinals she faced Agnieszka Radwańska and won comfortably in straight sets. This win meant she had beaten Radwańska in all five matches against her this year. Azarenka would then face world No. 2 Maria Sharapova in the final where she fell in straight sets. Azarenka then competed at the Madrid Open. She made it to the finals but was beaten easily in by Serena Williams in straight sets. The result gave Azarenka only her third defeat of the year. Azarenka's next tournament was the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, she advanced to the third round quite easily but then withdrew from the tournament, due to a right shoulder strain, and avoided a third round clash with Dominika Cibulková.
At the French Open, she defeated Alberta Brianti, Dinah Pfizenmaier and Alexandra Wozniak respectively to qualify for the fourth round. However, in the fourth round, she lost in straight sets against Dominika Cibulková of Slovakia. As a result, she lost her world No. 1 ranking to eventual Roland Garros champion Maria Sharapova. Azarenka then competed at Wimbledon, winning her first four matches in straight sets. She then defeated Tamira Paszek in the quarterfinals, also in straight sets, before losing to Serena Williams for the 6th straight time in the semifinal, bringing their head-to-head 8–1 in Serena's favour. Nonetheless, she regained the world No. 1 ranking after the tournament due to Sharapova's loss in the fourth round.
Later in the month, Azarenka took part in the 2012 Summer Olympics tennis event, held at the All England Club in Wimbledon, London. She entered two events, playing in both the women's singles, and the mixed doubles alongside ATP doubles world No. 1 Max Mirnyi. In singles, Azarenka won her first four matches, all in straight sets, before falling in the semifinals, losing for the third time of the season and the ninth time overall to eventual Gold Medallist Serena Williams. Azarenka rebounded by winning the bronze-medal match over Maria Kirilenko in straight sets, earning the first ever Olympic medal in tennis for Belarus. Azarenka got her first Gold medal in the 2012 Olympic Games on 5 August 2012 with Max Mirnyi for Belarus, defeating Andy Murray and Laura Robson of Great Britain in a tiebreak. Azarenka reached the quarterfinals for the first time at the 2012 US Open, winning her first four matches in straight sets for the loss of only ten games. There, she faced defending champion Samantha Stosur and eliminated her from the tournament in a two-and-a-half hour three-set thriller which was decided by a final-set tiebreak. Azarenka then faced former US Open champion and world No. 3 Maria Sharapova in the semifinal. Azarenka was able to come through the match after being a set down. In the final she faced former US Open champion and world No. 4 Serena Williams, losing for the eighth consecutive time despite serving for the match in the third set. Following her loss, Azarenka was applauded by many in the tennis community for the honesty and gratitude she demonstrated during the trophy ceremony as well as her press-conference afterwards.
In mid-September, Azarenka played an exhibition match against Dominika Cibulková in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, winning the match in straight sets. Azarenka then played at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo where, in the quarters, she retired from the tournament due to dizziness. She then played the China Open, advancing to the quarterfinals without dropping a set. There she defeated Romina Oprandi and then eased past Marion Bartoli en route to the finals. The finals was set for another top 2 seeded match as it was Azarenka facing world No. 2 Maria Sharapova for the fifth time of the year. Azarenka was able to win the match comfortably. The win gave Azarenka her second Premier Mandatory title of the year and fifth overall title of the year. Azarenka then played at the Generali Ladies Linz, where she advanced to the semifinals without dropping a set. In the semis she faced Irina-Camelia Begu, winning easily. In the finals she faced Germany's Julia Görges and won the match in straight sets, tying Serena with six titles for the year. Azarenka's final tournament of the year was the WTA Tour Championships where she was drawn in the red group along with world No. 3 Serena Williams, world No. 5 Angelique Kerber and world No. 8 Li Na. In match one she beat Kerber but was subsequently beaten by Serena Williams. In her final round robin match, she beat Li Na, ensuring her Year-End No. 1 ranking. As the runner-up of her group, Azarenka faced White Group winner Maria Sharapova in the semifinals. After, clinching the world number one spot in her previous match against Li, she seemed physically drained to compete well and lost to Sharapova in two sets. Azarenka set a new record for single-season prize money in 2012, earning $7.9 million. She also finished the season with a 69–10 win-loss record and six titles, losing five of those matches to Serena Williams, two to Maria Sharapova, one to Marion Bartoli, one to Dominika Cibulková and the remaining loss coming on a retirement to Tamira Paszek.
2013: Second Australian Open title and US Open runner-up
Victoria Azarenka began her 2013 season at the Brisbane International in what was her first appearance at the tournament since winning the title in 2009. She was able to reach the semi-finals, however had to withdraw from her scheduled match against Serena Williams due to a toe infection.
Azarenka defended the title at the Australian Open, beating Li Na in three sets in the championship match. Her passage to the final included a first round win against Monica Niculescu, a second round win against Eleni Daniilidou, a three set win against rising American star Jamie Hampton, a fourth round win against Elena Vesnina, a quarterfinal win against Svetlana Kuznetsova, and a semifinal win against Sloane Stephens where she took a controversial 10-minute medical timeout citing exaggerated injuries, blaming breathing difficulties and stress. Her next tournament was the Qatar Total Open, where she was the defending champion. She advanced to the semifinals with easy wins over Romina Oprandi, Christina McHale, Sara Errani, and Agnieszka Radwańska. In the final, Azarenka faced Serena Williams and defeated her in three sets, successfully defending her title and beating Williams for the first time since 2009.
In her next event at the WTA Premier Mandatory event BNP Paribas Open, Azarenka, the defending champion, opened well against two-time Indian Wells winner Daniela Hantuchová. Against 28th seed Kirsten Flipkens, Azarenka dropped the first set and was three games from losing in the second set. Azarenka, however, won twelve straight points to clinch the second set and went on to win the third set easily. In the Round of 16, Azarenka defeated Urszula Radwańska. Azarenka was drawn to meet Caroline Wozniacki in the quarterfinals, however Azarenka was forced to withdraw from the match and the tournament, citing a right ankle injury. As a result, despite her 17-match unbeaten start to the season, Azarenka lost her No. 2 ranking to eventual champion Maria Sharapova.
Even though Azarenka attended the Player's Party in Miami for the Sony Open, she withdrew from the tournament moments before her first match with American up-and-comer Madison Keys, because she hadn't recovered fully from her right ankle injury. In her first tournament after injury, Azarenka lost to Ekaterina Makarova in the second round of the Madrid Open but successfully reached the final in the following tournament, the Italian Open by defeating Julia Görges, Ayumi Morita, Sam Stosur, and Sara Errani, but lost to Serena Williams in the final. In the French Open, as the third seed, she reached the semifinal before being defeated by Maria Sharapova who ended the tournament as runner-up. It was, however, a huge improvement made on her weakest surface. She is making huge strides to become a better clay-court player.
In the first round of the Wimbledon Championships she defeated Maria João Koehler in straight sets, but suffered a serious knee injury early in the second set. This injury ultimately forced her to withdraw from the Championships before her second round match against Flavia Pennetta. Azarenka's withdrawal from Wimbledon ended a sequence of four consecutive Grand Slam semifinals.
Following her injury-enforced early exit from Wimbledon, Azarenka returned to action at the Southern California Open, where she was the top seed. After receiving a first-round bye, she defeated Francesca Schiavone, Urszula Radwańska and Ana Ivanovic (the latter in three sets) before losing to Samantha Stosur in straight sets in the championship match. The loss to Stosur marked her first loss against her, after previously winning their first eight encounters.
Azarenka was later forced to withdraw from the Rogers Cup due to a back injury she suffered in the championship match in Carlsbad.
Seeded second at Cincinnati, Azarenka received a first round bye, following which she won her first match at the tournament since 2009, when she defeated local hope Vania King in the second round. That was then followed by wins over Magdaléna Rybáriková, Caroline Wozniacki (her first victory against her since 2009) and Jelena Janković, en route to reaching her fifth final of the year, where she defeated Serena Williams in a thrilling championship match to pick up her third title for the year.
At the US Open, where Azarenka was seeded second, she successfully reached the final for the second consecutive year, only dropping two sets en route. In her first round match, she defeated Dinah Pfizenmaier without losing a game. In her second round match, she defeated Aleksandra Wozniak in straight sets. In her third and fourth round matches, she respectively battled past Alizé Cornet and Ana Ivanovic, coming from a set down to win both matches. In her quarterfinal match, she defeated Daniela Hantuchová in straight sets. In the semifinal match, she defeated surprise semifinalist Flavia Pennetta. However, she lost in the final to Serena Williams in three sets.
Azarenka then endured an unsuccessful Asian swing, losing in the second round to former number one and seven-time Grand Slam champion Venus Williams in straight sets in Tokyo and losing in the first round to Andrea Petkovic in an error-riddled performance in Beijing. Azarenka's 2013 season ended with a poor showing at the 2013 WTA Tour Championships, winning only one of her three-round robin matches and failing to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2010.
2014–15: Injuries and struggle
Azarenka's 2014 season was blighted by a foot injury which forced her to miss five months of the season and call an early end to her season in September. The injuries forced her to miss seven of her first 16 events of the season, including the 2014 French Open. Azarenka only managed to make it to one final all season, in her first tournament of the year in Brisbane, where she lost to Serena Williams in straight sets. In three other tournaments Azarenka managed to reach the quarterfinals, but failed to progress any further. She lost to Agnieszka Radwańska at the Australian Open and Montreal and to Ekaterina Makarova at the US Open. Elsewhere, she suffered losses in her opening matches at tournaments in Indian Wells, Eastbourne and Stanford. At Wimbledon she lost in her second round match to Bojana Jovanovski in three sets. Azarenka's 2014 season ended in September due to injury. She ended the year ranked world No. 32, her lowest finish since 2006.
Azarenka started the 2015 season at the Brisbane International, losing to Karolína Plíšková in three sets, despite having multiple match points. As of being a runner-up last year, she dropped out from the top 40.[clarification needed] However, Azarenka reached the fourth round at the Australian Open, beating eight seed Caroline Wozniacki en route, but lost to Dominika Cibulková in three sets.
In Doha, Azarenka scored three wins over top-20 players, against Angelique Kerber, fifth ranked Wozniacki and Venus Williams, before losing to Lucie Šafářová in the final. She then played in Indian Wells and Miami, losing in the third round at both.
Azarenka opened her clay season in Madrid, where she beat Venus Williams, but lost to her sister Serena in third round, despite having three match points. Next she reached the quarterfinals in Rome, losing to Maria Sharapova again after Sharapova previously beat her at Indian Wells. At the French Open, she lost eight games before reaching the third round, but then fell again to Serena Williams, despite being two service games from victory in the second set.
After having to withdraw from the second round match in Birmingham due to a foot injury, Azarenka made a run to the Wimbledon quarterfinals with four straight set wins, but lost to Serena Williams again after taking the first set.
She returned to action in Toronto, reaching the third round after beating Elina Svitolina and third seed Petra Kvitová. She then seemed to be frustrated by Errani's medical timeout during the first set where she was up a break. Azarenka won just four of the next fourteen games and lost.
2016: Sunshine Double, re-entry into top 5, injuries and pregnancy hiatus
Azarenka started her season at the Brisbane International in Australia. She reached the final after defeating Elena Vesnina, Ysaline Bonaventure, eighth seed Roberta Vinci and surprise qualifier Samantha Crawford. She faced fourth seed Angelique Kerber in the final and won the title without losing a set in the entire tournament. This was her 18th WTA title and her first since the 2013 Western & Southern Open. At the Australian Open, Azarenka was seeded 14th and reached the quarterfinals without dropping a set, including a double-bagel win over Alison Van Uytvanck. However, in her quarterfinal match she was defeated in straight sets by seventh seed and eventual champion Angelique Kerber, who had never defeated Azarenka in their previous six matches. Azarenka was ahead in the second set but failed to convert five set points.
Azarenka next played, and won, at Indian Wells. The title included wins over Serena Williams, Karolína Plíšková, and a double-bagel win over Magdaléna Rybáriková. Azarenka's win over Williams in the final made her the only player to defeat Williams four times in a final. Her ranking rose to No. 8 after Indian Wells.
Two weeks later, Azarenka beat Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Miami final to become only the third player, after Steffi Graf and Kim Clijsters, to win the Indian Wells-Miami double in the same year. The title included a straight-sets revenge defeat of Angelique Kerber in the semifinals and a win over Garbiñe Muguruza in the fourth round in their first meeting. Her ranking rose to No. 5 afterwards.
Azarenka started her clay-court season at the Mutua Madrid Open as the fourth seed. She cruised through the first two rounds with wins over Laura Robson and Alizé Cornet. However, she was forced to withdraw from her third-round match with Louisa Chirico because of a back injury. After losing to Irina-Camelia Begu in her first match in Rome, she was forced to retire from her first round match against Karin Knapp at the French Open due to a knee injury. The same injury forced her to withdraw from Wimbledon.
Azarenka announced her pregnancy through social media on 15 July and missed the rest of the 2016 season as a result. On 20 December 2016, Azarenka gave birth to a baby boy named Leo; unfortunately she subsequently split from his father and a custody battle ensued.
2017: Return to tour, then custody battle
Azarenka returned to competitive tennis at the Mallorca Open (19–25 June), winning her first match against Risa Ozaki after saving three match points in the final set. She lost in the second round to Ana Konjuh.
At Wimbledon, Azarenka came back from a set down to defeat American teenager CiCi Bellis in the first round. In the second round, she completed the first straight sets win of her return by knocking out 15th seed Elena Vesnina 6–3, 6–3. In the third round, Azarenka beat Heather Watson in a three-set thriller 3–6, 6–1, 6–4 for 2 hours and 6 minutes. Azarenka lost to Simona Halep in the fourth round of Wimbledon. In mixed-doubles event, Azarenka teamed up with the former world number one in men doubles Nenad Zimonjic where they lost in the first round of the championship to the 2016 Wimbledon mixed-doubles champion Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson in straight set 3–6, 4–6 at the same day when Azarenka defeated Watson in the women single event.
In August 2017, Azarenka's custody battle for her eight-month old son resulted in her withdrawal from that year's US Open. She also missed the 2017 Fed Cup final, in which her native Belarus lost 2–3 to the United States.
2018: Return to top 100, Wimbledon mixed-doubles final
Azarenka originally received a wild card for the Australian Open, but she withdrew from the tournament due to her ongoing custody battle. On 16 January 2018, it was announced that Azarenka had won her custody battle hearing, and was due to resume her career with the BNP Paribas Open. She lost to Sloane Stephens in the third round. At the Miami Open, she set up a rematch against Stephens after defeating Karolína Plíšková in the quarterfinal round in straight sets. She lost 6–3, 2–6, 1–6. With her run to the semifinals, Azarenka returned to the top 100 for the first time since returning to tour. At the Madrid Open, Azarenka lost in round two to Karolína Plíšková 2–6, 6–1, 5–7. At the Italian Open, she was defeated in the opening round by Naomi Osaka 6-0, 6-3. At the French Open, Azarenka was defeated in the first round by Kateřina Siniaková 7–5, 7–5.
Azarenka started the grass-court season at the Mallorca Open, where she lost in the second round to Lucie Šafářová. At Wimbledon, she lost in the second round to another Czech player, Karolína Plíšková. Nonetheless, she reached the final in the mixed doubles, partnering Jamie Murray.
In Monterrey, Azarenka advanced to the final, defeating Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and Angelique Kerber along the way. She retired hurt in the second set against defending champion Garbiñe Muguruza.
At the 2019 Wimbledon she lost in the third round (6-3 , 6-1) to eventual winner, Simona Halep.
Endorsements and earnings
In August 2013, Azarenka was named the fourth highest paid female athlete in the world by Forbes magazine, with total earnings of $15.7 million between 2012–2013. Her prize money constituted $6.7 million while her growing endorsements equaled $9 million. Azarenka's $7.9 million prize money haul in 2012 was a single year record for a female athlete in any sport. With over $28.1 million in prize money, Azarenka is fourth on the list of WTA prize money leaders and the youngest in the top ten. Endorsement partners include Nike, Yonex, American Express, Six Star Pro Nutrition, InstaForex and Citizen Watch. Red Bull entered into a deal with Azarenka in January 2013, making her the first tennis player sponsor for the beverage and sports investment giant.
Playing style and coaching
Azarenka tends to play an aggressive baseline style that showcases her mobility. She is known for her strong two handed backhand, return game and taking the ball early. Her game is based on controlled aggression which she uses to hit relentless groundstrokes and to move her opponent around the court in order to hit low risk winners. Her aggressive game was praised particularly by American tennis player Sloane Stephens, who said that "she's just a really tough competitor".
Azarenka has had several coaches through the years. António van Grichen from 2005–2009, Sam Sumyk from 2010–2015, Wim Fissette from 2015–2016, and Michael Joyce in 2017. In November 2018 Azarenka reunited with Wim Fissette
Throughout her career, Victoria Azarenka has established rivalries with other players on the WTA Tour. Her rivalries with Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova are among the most significant on the WTA Tour, as all three players have met each other at least fifteen times.
Azarenka vs. S. Williams
List of all matches
|No.||Year||Tournament||Surface||Round||Winner||Score||V. A.||S. W.|
|1.||2008||Australian Open||Hard||R32||Williams||6–3, 6–4||0||1|
|2.||2009||Australian Open||Hard||R16||Williams||3–6, 4–2 ret.||0||2|
|5.||2010||Australian Open||Hard||QF||Williams||4–6, 7–6(7–4), 6–2||1||4|
|7.||2011||US Open||Hard||R32||Williams||6–1, 7–6(7–5)||1||6|
|8.||2012||Madrid||Clay (blue)||F||Williams||6–1, 6–3||1||7|
|10.||2012||Summer Olympic Games||Grass||SF||Williams||6–1, 6–2||1||9|
|11.||2012||US Open||Hard||F||Williams||6–2, 2–6, 7–5||1||10|
|12.||2012||WTA Finals||Hard (i)||RR||Williams||6–4, 6–4||1||11|
|13.||2013||Doha||Hard||F||Azarenka||7–6(8–6), 2–6, 6–3||2||11|
|15.||2013||Cincinnati||Hard||F||Azarenka||2–6, 6–2, 7–6(8–6)||3||12|
|16.||2013||US Open||Hard||F||Williams||7–5, 6–7(6–8), 6–1||3||13|
|18.||2015||Madrid||Clay||R16||Williams||7–6(7–5), 3–6, 7–6(7–1)||3||15|
|19.||2015||French Open||Clay||R32||Williams||3–6, 6–4, 6–2||3||16|
|20.||2015||Wimbledon||Grass||QF||Williams||3–6, 6–2, 6–3||3||17|
|21.||2016||Indian Wells||Hard||F||Azarenka||6–4, 6–4||4||17|
|22.||2019||Indian Wells||Hard||R64||Williams||7–5, 6–3||4||18|
Victoria Azarenka's most notable rivalry is against Serena Williams. They have met 22 times, including ten times in the Grand Slams, with Serena Williams leading their head-to-head 18–4, 10–0 in the Grand Slams, 5–4 in finals. Their first meeting was at the 2008 Australian Open, with then-defending champion Williams winning in straight sets. Their next meeting would also be at the Australian Open, in the fourth round in 2009, and again Williams was victorious when the Belarusian was forced to retire due to illness, having won the first set but trailing 2–4 in the second. Two-and-a-half months later though, Azarenka would achieve her first victory in the rivalry, defeating the American in straight sets in the final of the Sony Ericsson Open. Williams later won a quarterfinal match between the pair at Wimbledon on her way to winning that championship.
Once again the pair met at the Australian Open, in the 2010 quarterfinals. Azarenka had won the first set and was leading in the second set before Williams came back to win the three-set match, once again on her way to winning the title for the second consecutive year. Her dominance continued with straight sets victories at the Rogers Cup and the US Open in 2011, both times coming after Williams' ranking had plummeted to world No. 175 following Wimbledon.
The rivalry reached its peak in 2012 with the pair meeting five times, with Serena Williams victorious on each occasion: the Madrid Masters final, the Wimbledon semi-finals, the Olympics semi-finals, the US Open final, described by many as the best match of the year on WTA, and in the round robin stage of the year-end championships. They had been due to meet in the semi-finals of the 2013 Brisbane International, before Azarenka was forced to withdraw due to a toe infection. At the Qatar Total Open, Azarenka scored just her second victory over Williams in a WTA Tour match, winning in the championship match in three sets. They next faced off on clay at 2013 Internazionali BNL d'Italia which Williams won in straight sets.
Azarenka's third victory over Williams came in the final of the Western and Southern Open; again, a third set was required to decide the outcome, and on this occasion a final set tiebreak proved to be the difference. However, in a rematch of the previous year's final, Williams would get her revenge, defeating her in the final of the US Open, which, like the previous year, also required a third set. Azarenka then lost to Williams again in the championship match of the Brisbane International early in 2014; this defeat marked Azarenka's first at the tournament.
The pair would not meet again until the 2015 Mutua Madrid Open some 16 months later; Azarenka lost a third round match against Williams in three sets despite holding three match points on her own serve in the final set. They then met in the third round of the 2015 French Open where Azarenka led by a set and a break before going on to lose 10 of the next 12 games. In the quarterfinals of the 2015 Wimbledon Championships, she once again was one set up on Williams, but proceeded to lose the match in three sets.
For their 21st meeting, they faced off in the final of the 2016 Indian Wells Open. Victoria earned her fourth win, becoming the first player to defeat Serena four times in a final. Despite the lopsided record (17-4 in Williams' favor), many have said that Azarenka is the only player with the ability to consistently challenge Serena.
Azarenka vs. Bartoli
Azarenka dominated the early rivalry, winning the first six meetings between the pair, including in the second round of the 2007 Australian Open, the final of the 2009 Brisbane International and all four matches that eventuated in 2010. The win in Brisbane marked Azarenka's first success in a WTA Tour final, having previously lost three finals. Bartoli got her first win over Azarenka in Eastbourne in 2011, winning after Azarenka retired with injury. At the 2011 WTA Tour Championships, Bartoli qualified as a reserve for Maria Sharapova and in the only match she played, she upset Azarenka in three sets. The match had no meaning because Bartoli could not qualify for the semi-finals as Sharapova had lost her two matches and Azarenka had already qualified for the semi-finals.
The pair met three times in 2012, with Azarenka winning two of the matches. Bartoli's victory in the Miami quarterfinals was significant though, as it snapped Azarenka's 26-match winning streak to start the season. Bartoli won in straight sets to record what was at the time her third victory over a reigning world No. 1. Their last meeting was in the semi-finals of the China Open with Azarenka avenging the Miami loss on her way to winning the title.
Azarenka vs. Sharapova
List of all matches
|No.||Year||Tournament||Surface||Round||Winner||Score||Length||V. A.||M. S.|
|2.||2009||Los Angeles||Hard||R32||Sharapova||6–7(4–7), 6–4, 6–2||2:32||1||1|
|3.||2009||Beijing||Hard||R32||Sharapova||6–3, 6–7(5–7), 7–5||2:56||1||2|
|6.||2011||Rome||Clay||QF||Sharapova||4–6, 3–0 RET||1:23||3||3|
|7.||2012||Australian Open||Hard||F||Azarenka||6–3, 6–0||1:22||4||3|
|8.||2012||Indian Wells||Hard||F||Azarenka||6–2, 6–3||1:26||5||3|
|10.||2012||US Open||Hard||SF||Azarenka||3–6, 6–2, 6–4||2:42||6||4|
|13.||2013||French Open||Clay||SF||Sharapova||6–1, 2–6, 6–4||2:10||7||6|
|14.||2015||Indian Wells||Hard||R32||Sharapova||6–4, 6–3||1:52||7||7|
One of women's tennis most famous current-day rivalries is the one between Azarenka and Maria Sharapova. They have met 15 times since 2007. The head-to-head is at 7–8 overall in Sharapova's favor, but Azarenka leads 2–1 in the Grand Slams and 5–1 in finals. Together, they reigned as the top two women in the world from January 2012 to January 2013, except for a brief period in July and August when Agnieszka Radwańska was the world No. 2 behind Azarenka.
Azarenka won their first meeting in 2007, in the second round of the Kremlin Cup in Moscow. Their first meeting in a WTA Tour final came at the 2010 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, which Azarenka won for her first (and fourth career) title that year. Azarenka also defeated Sharapova in the Miami Masters final in 2011 to win her second title at that tournament.
The rivalry between the two players started to intensify in 2012, with six meetings between the pair that year, four of them being in finals. Azarenka won four of the six meetings that year, three of them in finals. Their most famous meeting occurred early that year, in the final of the 2012 Australian Open. This match had historical proportions as Azarenka would become the first player from her country to either win a Grand Slam singles title or become world No. 1, or Sharapova would win her second title at the tournament, having won in 2008. Ultimately, Azarenka won the match, beating Sharapova in straight sets in one hour and twenty-two minutes and in doing so claimed the world No. 1 ranking for the first time. Azarenka would defeat Sharapova in two further finals, at Indian Wells, in Beijing however Sharapova would prevail in the final of the 2012 Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. Their two non-finals were split, Azarenka winning at the US Open and Sharapova winning at the year-end championships.
The pair's only meeting in 2013 did not come until the semifinals of the French Open, where Sharapova won in three sets. This marked the first time Sharapova had beaten Azarenka at a Grand Slam, and improved to 3–0 against her on clay. Sharapova won their next meeting in the third round of the 2015 BNP Paribas Open in straight sets.
Azarenka vs. Li
List of all matches
|1.||2008||Gold Coast||Hard||F||Li||4–6, 6–3, 6–4||N/A||0||1|
|2.||2009||Tokyo||Hard||QF||Li||7–6(9–7), 4–6, 7–6(7–4)||N/A||0||2|
|4.||2011||Australian Open||Hard||R16||Li||6–3, 6–3||N/A||1||3|
|5.||2011||French Open||Clay||QF||Li||7–5, 6–2||N/A||1||4|
|7.||2012||Sydney||Hard||F||Azarenka||6–2, 1–6, 6–3||1:56||3||4|
|8.||2012||Madrid||Clay||QF||Azarenka||3–6, 6–3, 6–3||1:54||4||4|
|10.||2013||Australian Open||Hard||F||Azarenka||4–6, 6–4, 6–3||2:40||6||4|
Azarenka and Li Na met eleven times between 2008 and 2013. Azarenka led the head-to-head 6–5 overall, and 2–1 in championship matches (all of which reached a deciding set), but trailed 1–2 in Grand Slam matches.
Their first meeting was in the final of the 2008 Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts tournament (which has since been renamed as the Brisbane International), which Li Na won in three sets after Azarenka had won the first. Azarenka's first victory over Li was in the third round of the 2010 Rogers Cup. They met three times in 2011, two of which were at the Majors, with Li winning both times, before Azarenka won their third meeting at the 2011 WTA Tour Championships, en route to reaching the final.
They met a further three times in 2012, with Azarenka winning each time. They met in the final of the Sydney International, where Azarenka won in three sets after breaking the defending champion Li at 4–3 in the decider. Azarenka was also victorious in their meetings at Madrid and the year-end championships.
Their most notable meeting to date was in the final of the 2013 Australian Open. Both players entered the championship match with one Grand Slam title each (Azarenka who the 2012 Australian Open, whilst Li won the 2011 French Open), and in very good form, with Azarenka only dropping one set throughout her run and Li Na having not dropped a set and also having defeated two top four players (Agnieszka Radwańska and Maria Sharapova) en route. After Li Na won the first set, Azarenka stepped up her game as Li started to suffer multiple injuries, and eventually won in three sets to successfully defend her Australian Open title and become the first world No. 1 to win a Major since Serena Williams won Wimbledon in 2010.
Grand Slam performance timelines
|Grand Slam tournaments|
Only main-draw results in WTA Tour are considered. This table is current up to the 2019 Wimbledon Championships.
|Grand Slam tournaments|
Grand Slam finals
Singles: 4 (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)
|Winner||2012||Australian Open||Hard||Maria Sharapova||6–3, 6–0|
|Runner-up||2012||US Open||Hard||Serena Williams||2–6, 6–2, 5–7|
|Winner||2013||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Li Na||4–6, 6–4, 6–3|
|Runner-up||2013||US Open (2)||Hard||Serena Williams||5–7, 7–6(8–6), 1–6|
Doubles: 3 (3 runner-ups)
|Runner-up||2008||Australian Open||Hard||Shahar Pe'er|| Alona Bondarenko
|6–2, 1–6, 4–6|
|Runner-up||2009||French Open||Clay||Elena Vesnina|| Anabel Medina Garrigues
Virginia Ruano Pascual
|Runner-up||2011||Australian Open (2)||Hard||Maria Kirilenko|| Gisela Dulko
|6–2, 5–7, 1–6|
Mixed doubles: 4 (2 titles, 2 runner-ups)
|Runner-up||2007||Australian Open||Hard||Max Mirnyi|| Elena Likhovtseva
|Winner||2007||US Open||Hard||Max Mirnyi|| Meghann Shaughnessy
|Winner||2008||French Open||Clay||Bob Bryan|| Katarina Srebotnik
|Runner-up||2018||Wimbledon||Grass||Jamie Murray|| Nicole Melichar
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