Azarenka thumps Collins in Acapulco first round

Published by Tennismash

Victoria Azarenka (Getty Images)
Former world No.1 Victoria Azarenka showed glimpses of her best in a first-round rout of recent Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins. Top seed Sloane Stephens also won through in Acapulco.

Victoria Azarenka needed just 71 minutes to dispatch Danielle Collins and advance to the second round of the WTA tournament in Acapulco, Mexico.

Collins became one of the more notable players on tour last month courtesy of her run to the Australian Open semifinals, which included a 6-0 6-2 thumping of former world No.1 Angelique Kerber.

Yet against another former No.1 in Azarenka, Collins found herself on the receiving end of a similar thrashing.

Azarenka beat the second seed 6-1 6-2, helped by four aces and a first-serve winning percentage of 77%. Collins, meanwhile, sprayed five double faults and won less than half her first-serve points.

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“Against top players, (Collins) really steps up a level, so I was definitely expecting a tough match,” Azarenka told wtatennis.com.

“I felt like I took a lot of good opportunities in the beginning, put a lot of pressure, and didn’t really let her get back into the match. I felt that I’ve done that really well today.”

Azarenka, currently ranked 50th, next meets German Tatjana Maria and will bid to win back-to-back matches for the first time since September last year when she advanced the quarterfinals of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo.

The Belarusian had lost three of her four matches of 2019 before arriving in Acapulco.

Earlier on Tuesday, No.1 seed Sloane Stephens got her campaign off to a winning start via a dominant 6-2 6-2 victory over Frenchwoman Pauline Parmentier.

The 2016 Acapulco champion will face Brazil’s Beatriz Haddad Maia in the last 16.

“Yeah definitely playing well,” Stephens told Tennis Channel.

“A little disappointed that I missed too many volleys today, because I’ve actually been at home practising that, but other than that, happy with the first-round win.”

Also moving through was No.4 seed Mihaela Buzarnescu, who snapped an 11-match losing streak after beating Daria Gavrilova 6-4 6-2.

Buzarnescu was trending in the right direction in 2018, winning the Stanford title in July to crack the world’s top 20. Yet she badly injured her ankle the very next week in Montreal, which sidelined her for two months.

After returning to tennis at the China Open, she did not win a match until her defeat of Gavrilova, which, incidentally, extends the Australian’s losing streak to seven.

Also advancing to the second round were former world No.4 Johanna Konta, seventh seed Zheng Saisai and Canadian rising star Bianca Andreescu.

Andreescu next faces Buzarnescu for a place in the quarterfinals.

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