Going into the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, the last person to defeat Victoria Azarenka was potential rival Petra Kvitova at the 2011 Tour Championship final in Istanbul. However, in that same event Marion Bartoli defeated Vika during round robin play. In the quarterfinals at Miami, Marion would once again take out Vika, 6-3 6-3, t0 not only bounce the world #1 from the Sony Ericsson Open but end Vika’s 2012 unbeaten streak at 26. Marion, like her idol Monica Seles, hits two handed from both sides (although unlike Seles, Marion plays right handed…though she signs her name lefty). When she is on, as she was against Vika, she resembles the attacking style of Monica.
You could almost see this coming after Vika was taken to the brink by Dominika Cibulkova, but like a champion Vika has bounced back from less than 100% performances to blow away the competition this season. However, against Marion she was simply out-hit and outplayed. Marion was in attack mode and didn’t let up. I am a big Marion fan so I am happy to see her play well. Still, there was a part of me that hoped to see Victoria Azarenka play either Venus Williams, Serena Williams or Kim Clijsters this event. I wanted her unbeaten streak to be put to the fire to see how she would play and if she could overcome the pressure. As it turned out, it would be Marion who took Vika over the edge. I’d love to see Marion win Miami, but to be honest I have seen enough of Bartoli to know she can be streaky, brilliant enough to beat Vika in straight sets but also erratic enough to lose to anybody. We’ll see if she can finish this event holding the trophy.