US Open to prove Azarenka new queen of the hard court
Wimbledon reminded us that – despite her formidable stranglehold on the women’s game – Serena Williams should never be considered unbeatable. The American is odds-on favourite to gain recompense for her All England Club loss at the US Open, but her aura of invincibility has taken a timely dent and Victoria Azarenka could be the player to profit.
Whilst the slings and arrows of outrageous bad fortune may have accounted for Azarenka, along with numerous other seeds across the mens’ and women’s draws at SW19, red-hot pre-tournament jolly Williams was ousted fair and square by a conditions-savvy Sabine Lisicki leaving excuses thin on the ground.
Beating Serena doesn’t entitle her conqueror to stroll on to Grand Slam glory – as Lisicki showed at Wimbledon – but if such a pot is to be won then the likelihood is that she’ll have to be faced at some point along the road.
On hard court this prospect should worry Azarenka less than most, having beaten the world number one in their most recent meeting on the surface and she’s 7/2 for victory at Flushing Meadows.
Although she’s 2-12 in arrears over the course of the pairs’ career head-to-head history, that record is a far more respectable 2-7 when only hard court encounters are considered. Furthermore, two of those Williams wins on the surface came courtesy of mid-match injury withdrawals from the Belarusian.
When it comes to other big swingers near the top of the women’s rankings tree her record on the surface is equally encouraging, with six straight hard court wins over Maria Sharapova, and an easy 6-1, 6-2 success in her sole meeting with Petra Kvitova on the hard stuff to boot.
The injury she sustained at Wimbledon doesn’t look serious if her participation in the up-coming Rogers Cup is anything to go by and having reached the final of the last three hard court Slams (winning twice) there are few more consistently top drawer practitioners in this sphere currently practising in the women’s game.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.