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AZARENKA OUTDOES WOZNIACKI IN ROME

2015-5-14


ROME, Italy - Victoria Azarenka stayed strong through some tense final moments to close out Caroline Wozniacki in a grueling battle between former World No.1s at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia.

Watch highlights, interviews and more video from Rome right here on wtatennis.com!

Azarenka had beaten Wozniacki in straight sets in both of their previous meetings this year, and this one looked headed the same way early on as Azarenka stormed ahead a set and a break, 6-2, 2-1. It wasn't over by any means, though - Wozniacki fought back in the second set, even going up 5-3 at one point, but Azarenka got it back to 5-all and broke again for 6-5 and a chance to serve out the match.

That's when things really heated up. Azarenka had four match points on her serve in that game but missed them all - a wide backhand, a double fault, another double fault, another wide backhand - and Wozniacki broke back to take it to a tie-break. She may have had flashbacks to a week ago, where she held triple match point on Serena Williams at the Mutua Madrid Open but just couldn't seal the deal.

But as soon as the tie-break began, Azarenka put all of those match points - from this week and last week - behind her, completely running away with it to finally put Wozniacki away, 6-2, 7-6(2).

Azarenka's fifth match point was the last one she needed - she ripped a huge forehand winner down the line on it, her impressive 42nd winner of the match (coupled with just 33 unforced errors).

Azarenka and Wozniacki were playing each other for the 10th time - Azarenka now leads, 6-4.

"There are never too many surprises out there, for either of us," Azarenka said. "We've played so many times now, and this year too, and she's always a tough opponent. It had been a while since we played on clay, so I knew I had to step up my game and try to do my best, because she's been playing well.

"She's been playing some really great tennis this season so I knew I had to step it up today."

The Belarusian has been grinding her way back up the WTA Rankings this year after an injury-plagued 2014, starting at No.42 and now No.29, and surely to go higher after this week. She now has three Top 10 wins on the year, all against Wozniacki - at the Australian Open, Doha and now here in Rome.



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