Azarenka gets back in the groove again


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The Independent Online

It was perhaps inevitable that Victoria Azarenka would be unable to sustain her electrifying start to the year, but the world No 1 yesterday underlined her intention to end the Grand Slam season the way she began it.

Kirsten Flipkens, a Belgian qualifier, was no match for the 23-year-old from Belarus, who booked her place in the third round of the US Open with an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 win.

Azarenka, below, has not added to the four tournaments (including the Australian Open) she won in the first three months of the year. But she made early breaks in each set on her way to a 65-minute victory and a third-round match with China's Zheng Jie.

There was no such joy for Azarenka's predecessor as world No 1. Caroline Wozniacki's miserable year continued when she was beaten 6-2, 6-2 by Romania's Irina-Camelia Begu.

The Dane, who was struggling with a knee injury, has not won a tournament for 12 months and is likely to drop out of the world's top 10 following her latest setback.

Petra Kvitova, the world No 5, beat France's Alizé Cornet 6-4, 6-3 to continue her fine run on hard courts this summer. The Czech, who has won titles in Montreal and New Haven since the Olympics, now meets another French player, Pauline Parmentier.