Azarenka comfortably advances to third round
MELBOURNE - Reuters
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus makes a backhand return to Greece's Eleni Daniilidou during their second round match at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia, Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013. AP photoEarly rounds of grand slams are supposed to be relatively easy for the top seeds in the draw.
It's a chance for them to shake off some cobwebs, stretch out some rusty limbs and try out new shots and tactics before the business end of the tournament begins.
The Australian Open women's draw, however, may be taking that generalisation to the extreme. None of the top four have dropped a set in their opening two rounds of matches.
Second seed Maria Sharapova has not dropped a game, recording a 'double, double bagel' in advancing to the third round, while third seed Serena Williams -- playing with an ankle injury -- has conceded just two games.
Top seed and champion Victoria Azarenka, well known for listening to music before a match and jigging on court after, continued that dance of the dominant on Thursday, barely raising a sweat in her 6-1 6-0 win over Greece's Eleni Daniilidou.
Such was her dominance, the 23-year-old Belarusian looked like she could have got more of a challenge from a melting snowman on Rod Laver Arena as the temperatures climbed steadily towards 40 degree Celsius.
Daniilidou won just 10 points in total in the first set, seven of which were achieved in the fifth and sixth games when she pressured Azarenka's serve and then held her own serve for the first time to ensure she did not suffer the dreaded 'double bagel' herself.
Azarenka was only pushed in one further game against the world number 94, when Daniilidou held three break points in the fourth game of the second set. Otherwise it was one-way traffic.
"I just try to win every game," Azarenka told reporters in a statement that underlined her ruthless desire to retain the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Trophy.
"And of course when it's on my serve and even if it's on her serve, I just try to make every point the best as possible.
"If it's love-40 or whatever is the score, I'm going to fight for that point."
Azarenka, who will meet Jamie Hampton of the United States in the third round, had noticed the scores of some of the matches involving the top three had been lop-sided, but she said the scoreboards were often not that reliable indicators.
"The score sometimes doesn't tell the whole story about the match and to win matches like 0, 0, it requires a lot of discipline, a lot of focus," she added.
"Sometimes it's harder than winning, you know, 2 2 or something like that.
"Anybody on a given day can play an outstanding match. Especially when they have nothing to lose. I was just trying to focus on one point at a time and not looking too much at the scoreboard or anything.
"Just really executing ...and stay in the moment.
"I think I honestly can only speak for myself, but it seems like everybody is in great form, and it's going to be very interesting."