Victoria Azarenka has quickly risen to prominence in the tennis world, and has become a two-time Grand Slam champion, winning both Australian Opens in 2012 and 2013.  She is now the number 2-ranked women’s tennis player and seems to be ready to conquer the tennis world in 2013.  Will this year bear so fruitful for Azarenka and what challenges stand in her way?

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her women's final match against Na Li of China during day thirteen of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. / QUINN ROONEY/GETTY IMAGES

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus plays a backhand in her women’s final match against Na Li of China during day thirteen of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia. / QUINN ROONEY/GETTY IMAGES

The 2013 Australian Open was a massive victory for Azarenka.  Another big win for Azarenka came in the Qatar Total Open, where she was able to defeat Serena Williams in the final.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dO7g-MYFhKg?rel=0]

Serena Williams has been a severe obstacle for Victoria Azarenka.  Over a period stretching back to 2009, Williams had beaten Azarenka in 9 consecutive matches, many times in crucial fixtures of Grand Slam events.  Williams defeated Azarenka in the semifinals of both Wimbledon and the Olympics, in addition to a final victory in the US Open during 2012.  The US Open victory was the most traumatic, because Azarenka had led and even had a few match point opportunities but failed.  Here are highlights of the Wimbledon match:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9DhGq8ZxI8?rel=0]

But now Azarenka has beaten Serena Williams in the Qatar Open, proving she can manage the feat.  Beating Williams in the Grand Slam tournaments, under increased pressure, will be very difficult though. Additionally, women’s tennis hasn’t seen a totally dominant competitor in recent years like Novak Djokovic or Roger Federer in the men’s game.  Serena Williams has been a force, winning two Grand Slams last year, but is beatable as evidenced by Azarenka’s Australian Open victory.

The next major event is the French Open in May and that is always a tough test for any tennis player.  In fact, a different woman has won the French Open each year since 2007.  One tricky factor about the French Open is the slow, clay surface it is played on.  Making for a physically demanding tennis match, exhaustion and strength play a key role in dictating the outcome of the games.  Azarenka has an aggressive baseline style that bodes well for her chances in this Grand Slam, though it is worth noting that she won both her Grand Slam titles on the hard courts.

Wimbledon has been largely dominated by 5-time champion, Serena Williams.  Williams has won Wimbledon 3 times since 2009 and will surely be out for more as she still packs a punch with her brilliant serves.  Wimbledon is the most prestigious Grand Slam, and Victoria Azarenka surely covets this trophy as she has reached the semifinals in both of the last 2 years.  A match between the two would surely be an exciting affair.

Rounding up the Grand Slams is the 2013 US Open, where Azarenka could be favored with her hard court talents.  Williams did defeat her in the final last year, so once again her task will be monumental.

"BASKING

Clearly, how Victoria Azarenka performs in 2013 Grand Slams will be largely tied to her performances against Serena Williams.  However, the Women’s tennis singles field is still very competitive with players like Maria Sharapova, Na Li, and the young Sloane Stephens all competing for titles.  But with Azarenka already having beaten Serena Williams for the 2013 Qatar Open, we may have a wonderful rivalry throughout the year between these two exceptional tennis players.  They have already flip-flopped around the top of the Women’s rankings and will be battling it out throughout the year.  Let’s see how Azarenka does in a potential Grand Slam event.

Nicholas Spiller

Nicholas Spiller

Nicholas Spiller has enjoyed the sport of tennis for many years.An enthusiast who covers all major sports, he finds tennis to be one of the most pleasant and inspirational games around to watch. He also spends his time as a musician in Los Angeles.
Nicholas Spiller

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