It was a very happy 24th birthday for Victoria Azarenka as she advanced into the 3rd round of the 2013 Southern California Open with a 6-2 6-3 victory over Francesca Schiavone. I am just relieved to see Vika finish the match. Remember, the last time we saw her, she withdrew from Wimbledon after a sharp spill on the grass left her unable to play her next match.
So knock on wood that Azarenka continues to play injury free moving forward. Even with birthday girl Vika returning, the real buzz around this event is the return of Martina Hingis playing doubles. As great a player as she was in singles…clearly Hall of Fame worthy, which she was inducted into a few weeks ago…she has claimed to be a better doubles player than singles. And you know something…I think she might be correct. She has won 5 singles Majors. In women’s doubles, she has 9 Majors. Even more, she won the women’s doubles Grand Slam in 1998. She accomplished that with 2 different partners; Mirjana Lucic in the 1998 Australian Open and Jana Novotna in the three other 1998 Majors. Martina also won doubles Majors paired with Helena Sukova, Natasha Zvereva, Mary Pierce and Anna Kournikova. Hingis also paired with Kournikova to win 2 WTA Tour Championship doubles titles. For good measure, she won the 2006 Australian Open mixed doubles title with fellow doubles ace Mahesh Bhupathi. I’ve watched Martina play doubles in World Team Tennis recently for the Washington Kastles (that’s how they spell it) and she looks terrific. There is a certain anticipation, along with coordination and reflexes that you need for doubles. It’s almost an unteachable trait that Martina still seems to have. Of course, the pressure and expectations of her returning to the WTA tour, as opposed to the fun atmosphere of Billie Jean King’s World Team Tennis, is going to be far greater. We’ll see how she does. Even if she loses early on, that’s fine. It might take some time to find her game on the WTA level. By the US Open, I expect she will be playing well.
|singles – Third round|
| ROBERTA VINCI (ITA) D BETHANIE MATTEK-SANDS (USA)||| 6 – 4 | 6 – 2 ||
| PETRA KVITOVA (CZE) D LAURA ROBSON (GBR)||| 6 – 1 | 6 – 2 ||
| VICTORIA AZARENKA (BLR) D FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE (ITA)||| 6 – 2 | 6 – 3 ||
|singles – Second round|
| ANA IVANOVIC (SRB) D DOMINIKA CIBULKOVA (SVK)||| 4 – 6 | 6 – 3 | 6 – 2 ||
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