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Victoria Azarenka
Victoria Azerenka - 2009 US Open.jpg
Nickname(s) Vika, Azzy
Country  Belarus
Residence Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Date of birth 31 July 1989 (1989-07-31) (age 20)
Place of birth Minsk, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic, USSR
now Belarus
Height 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
Weight 60 kg (130 lb; 9.4 st)
Turned pro 2003
Plays Right-handed; Two-handed backhand
Career prize money $3,288,222
Singles
Career record 180–82
Career titles 3 WTA, 1 ITF
Highest ranking No. 6 (26 October 2009)
Current ranking No. 7 (2 November 2009)
Grand Slam results
Australian Open 4R (2009)
French Open QF (2009)
Wimbledon QF (2009)
US Open 4R (2007)
Doubles
Career record 90–38
Career titles 3 WTA, 3 ITF
Highest ranking No. 7 (7 July 2008)
Australian Open F (2008)
French Open F (2009)
Wimbledon QF (2008)
US Open 2R (2009)
Last updated on: 5 October 2009.

Victoria Fiodorovna Azarenka (Belarusian: Вікторыя Азарэнка, Азаранка, Russian: Виктория Фёдоровна Азаренко; born 31 July 1989) is a Belarusian professional tennis player who, as of 26 October 2009, is ranked World Number 6.[1] Azarenka has won two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles — 2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan. She has also won three singles titles, all in 2009.

Contents

Personal

Her move to Scottsdale from Minsk, Belarus was aided by National Hockey League goalie Nikolai Khabibulin and his wife, who is a friend of Azarenka's mother.[2] In 2009 she posed in the French edition of FHM

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Playing Style

Azarenka is an aggressive baseliner. She is known for her well timed and powerful groundstrokes. Her best shot is her backhand which is regarded as one of the strongest currently in the women's game. Her main weakness is considered to be her serve, which she often struggles to get enough cheap points off to enable her to close out big matches. Another minor weakness is her forehand which can sometimes break down and produce unforced errors, although this has improved over the years.

Tennis career

2005

In 2005, Azarenka won the Australian Open and US Open as a junior and was named the ITF Junior Girls World Champion for that year, the first player from Belarus to do that. She also won her first ITF title in Petange, Luxembourg in the same year. In Guangzhou, China, she reached her first pro-level semi-final, winning three qualifying rounds and defeating Martina Suchá and Shuai Peng in the main draw before losing to eventual champion Yan Zi.

2006

In 2006, at the event in Memphis, Azarenka defeated her first top-20 player, Nicole Vaidišová, and two months later defeated her second top-30 player in Jelena Janković at Miami. On clay, Azarenka pushed 2004 French Open champion Anastasia Myskina to 7–6 in the third in Rome, and took clay-court specialist Anabel Medina Garrigues to 9–7 in the third set in the first round at Roland Garros. At the 2006 US Open, she had her first win over Myskina in the first round and lost to Anna Chakvetadze in the third round, her best result in a grand slam event to that date. In her next tournament, Azarenka reached her second pro-level semi-final in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, losing to Tiantian Sun. She finished the year reaching the final of an ITF event in Pittsburgh, losing to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak.[1]

2007

Ranked World Number 96, Azarenka began the year by playing two tournaments in Australia. She lost in the second round of qualifying at the Moorilla Hobart International. She lost to Venus Williams 6-4 7-6. At the Australian Open, Azarenka reached the third round of a Grand Slam singles tournament for the second consecutive time, where she lost to World Number 11 Jelena Janković in straight sets.

She was away from the tour for five weeks before losing in the second round of an ITF tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. At the Tier I Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, Azarenka won two qualifying matches to reach the main draw before losing to Vera Zvonareva in the third round. Her World Number 66 ranking was high enough for a direct entry into the Tier I Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where she lost to Nicole Vaidišová in the third round.

The following week, she began her clay court season. She lost in the first round of the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida. When she returned to the tour four weeks later, she reached her first WTA Tour final at the Estoril Open in Portugal, where she lost to Greta Arn of Germany. The following week at the ECM Prague Open, a right hip injury caused her to retire from her semi-final match with eventual champion Akiko Morigami.[3] She was again away from the tour for four weeks before being upset in the first round of the French Open by Karin Knapp of Italy 6–1, 6–1.

On grass, Azarenka lost to World Number 8 Anna Chakvetadze in three sets in the first round of the Ordina Open in 's-Hertogenbosch, the Netherlands. At Wimbledon, she lost in the third round to 14th-seeded Vaidišová.

Azarenka played four tournaments during the North American summer hard court season. She lost in three sets to Maria Kirilenko in the first round of the Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, California. Sixth-seeded Daniela Hantuchová then defeated Azarenka in the second round of the Tier I Acura Classic in San Diego. The following week, second-seeded Janković beat Azarenka in the quarter-finals of the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles. At the US Open, Azarenka upset former World Number 1 Martina Hingis in the third round 3–6, 6–1, 6–0 before 2004 US Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova beat her in the fourth round. In mixed doubles at the US Open, Azarenka and countryman Max Mirnyi won the title, defeating Meghann Shaughnessy and Leander Paes in the final in straight sets after the winning team saved four set points in the second set tiebreaker.[4]

Azarenka played only three tournaments the remainder of the year. She upset third-seeded Nadia Petrova in the second round of the BGL-BNP Paribas Open Luxembourg 6–2, 6–1, which was her first career singles victory over a top ten player. But she lost to Zvonareva in the quarter-finals in straight sets. The following week at the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan, Azarenka was the top seeded player but lost to unseeded Pauline Parmentier in the straight sets final. She ended her year at the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow. She upset World Number 4 Maria Sharapova in the second round 7–6 (9-7) 6–2, saving six set points in the first set.[5] She then lost to the eventual winner of the tournament, World Number 14 Elena Dementieva, in the quarter-final. At the same tournament, Azarenka and her partner Tatiana Poutchek, also of Belarus, lost in the final to the World Number 3 team of Liezel Huber and Cara Black in three sets. Azarenka's results at the Kemlin Cup elevated her rankings to career highs of World Number 27 in singles and World Number 29 in doubles.

2008

Azarenka began the year at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts tournament in Gold Coast, Australia. Unseeded, she reached the semi-finals, where she beat fifth-seeded Shahar Pe'er of Israel, Azarenka's sixth top 20 victory. In her third career WTA tour final, she lost to Li Na, but the points she earned in this tournament were enough to improve her ranking to a career-best World Number 25.

Azarenka was seeded 26th at the Australian Open after retiring from her first round match at the Moorilla Hobart International because of a right leg injury.[6] This was her first appearance as a seeded player in a Grand Slam singles tournament. She showed no ill effects from the leg injury while winning her first two matches but lost in the third round to seventh-seeded and defending champion Serena Williams 6–3, 6–4. In doubles, Azarenka and her partner Pe'er were seeded 12th. They defeated 6th-seeded Sania Mirza and Alicia Molik and 13th-seeded Janette Husárová and Flavia Pennetta without losing a set, and in the semi-final, they came from behind to beat Jie Zheng and Zi Yan from China 0–6, 7–5, 7–6 (7-3). In the final, they lost to unseeded Kateryna and Alyona Bondarenko.

In her next event at the Open Gaz de France in Paris, she lost in the first round to Eleni Daniilidou of Greece. After almost two months away from the tour, she played the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. In her third round match against Svetlana Kuznetsova, she led 6–1, 5–2 before losing eleven consecutive games and the match.[7]

Her next six events were on clay where she compiled a 16–6 win-loss record. She lost in the second round of the Bausch & Lomb Championships in Amelia Island, Florida to Dominika Cibulková. The following week at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston, South Carolina, Azarenka lost in the third round to fourth seeded Elena Dementieva 6–4, 7–5. She lost in the final of her next tournament, which was the ECM Prague Open, to top-seeded Russian Vera Zvonareva in straight sets. At the Qatar Telecom German Open in Berlin, Azarenka reached her first Tier I semi-final. En route, she defeated World Number 7 Anna Chakvetadze and World Number 25 Alyona Bondarenko before losing in the semi-final to eventual champion Dinara Safina 6–4, 6–1. At the Tier I Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome, a left knee injury forced Azarenka to retire from her third round match with Tsvetana Pironkova.[8] Her next scheduled event was the French Open, where she was seeded 16th. She defeated 18th-seeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the third round before losing to fourth-seeded Kuznetsova in the fourth round. Azarenka teamed with American Bob Bryan to win the mixed doubles title at the French Open, defeating the top seeded team of Katarina Srebotnik and Nenad Zimonjić in the final.

Azarenka at Wimbledon 2008

On grass at the International Women's Open in Eastbourne, United Kingdom, Azarenka retired from her first round match because of a left knee injury.[9] At Wimbledon, Azarenka was seeded 16th in singles and 6th in doubles (with Pe'er). In singles, Azarenka was defeated by 21st-seeded Nadia Petrova of Russia in the third round 7–6 (11-9), 7–6 (7-4). In doubles, Azarenka and Pe'er reached the quarter-finals where they lost to the top-seeded team of Cara Black and Liezel Huber 7–5, 7–6 (7-4).

During the summer, Azarenka played four hard court tournaments and compiled a 10–4 win-loss record. She was the eighth-seeded player at the East West Bank Classic in Los Angeles, where she lost to fourth-seeded Safina in the quarter-finals in straight sets. For the second consecutive week, Azarenka lost to Safina, this time in the semi-final of the Tier I Rogers Cup in Montreal 6–0, 2–6, 6–3. At the Beijing Olympics, she lost to seventh-seeded Venus Williams in the third round 6–3, 6–2. Azarenka was seeded 14th at the US Open but was defeated by 21st seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the third round 6–4, 6–4.

Azarenka played just three tournaments during the remainder of the year, all of them on indoor hard courts in Europe. She was ranked World Number 17 at the start of the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart. She upset World Number 10 Agnieszka Radwanska in the second round and World Number 4 Dementieva in the quarter-finals. But as at Wimbledon earlier in the year, Azarenka then lost to Petrova, this time in the semi-final, 6–4, 6–4. The following week at the Tier I Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Azarenka was upset in the first round by World Number 43 Italian Sara Errani. To end the year, Azarenka retired from a match for the fourth time this year, this time because of a pulled chest muscle in the quarter-finals of the Zurich Open.[10]

2009

Azarenka began the year winning her first title at the Brisbane International as the second seed, defeating Marion Bartoli in the final. She was seeded 13th at the Australian Open, where she lost to second-seeded Serena Williams in the fourth round. Azarenka had to retire from that match while leading 6–3, 2–4.

At the Cellular South Cup in Memphis, Tennessee, Azarenka was seeded second. She defeated fourth-seeded Sabine Lisicki in the semi-finals 6–4, 3–6, 7–6(1) and then won her second WTA title by beating her doubles partner and top seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the final. Afterwards, Wozniacki and Azarenka won the doubles title, beating Michaella Krajicek and Yuliana Fedak in the final.

Azarenka competing at the 2009 French Open

Azarenka was a semi-finalist at the BNP Paribas Open, defeating World Number 2 Dinara Safina in the quarter-finals before losing to her doubles partner, Vera Zvonareva. Because of her performance at this tournament, Azarenka improved her singles ranking to a career best of World Number 10.[11] She is the second woman from Belarus ever to be ranked that high, following Natasha Zvereva who was ranked World Number 5 in the late 1980s.[11]

At the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Azarenka defeated Serena Williams in the final 6-3, 6-1. This was Azarenka's first Tier I or Premier Mandatory event final. Azarenka also became the sixth teenage female singles champion in the history of this tournament, with the others being Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis, Venus Williams, and Gabriela Sabatini.[12]

Her next tournament was on clay at the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix in Stuttgart, Germany, where she lost to Gisela Dulko in the second round.

At the Italian Open, Azarenka defeated Wozniacki 6-2, 6-2 to set up a quarter-final clash with Kaia Kanepi. After defeating the Estonian in straight sets, she lost to Svetlana Kuznetsova in the semi-final. At the Madrilena Madrid Open Azarenka had caught a small injury. However, this didn't bother her form coming into Roland Garros.

At Roland Garros, Azarenka, seeded ninth, defeated Roberta Vinci 6-4 6-2 and Kristina Barrois 7-6 7-5. In the third round, she defeated Carla Suarez Navarro 5-7 7-5 6-2 in a match which had to be suspended and played the next day. Azarenka followed this up with a 6-2, 6-3 4th round win over defending champion Ana Ivanovic. Azarenka advanced to her first Grand Slam quarter-final where she fell to top seed Dinara Safina 1-6 6-4 6-2.

With her playing partner Elena Vesnina, Victoria made the final of the Ladies doubles at Roland Garros. In the final they played against the Spanish pairing of Garrigues and Ruano Pascual. Victory would have been the first Ladies Doubles Slam for the talented Azarenka. In the final the higher ranked Spanish pairing won 6-1, 6-1.

She withdrew from her first match at the AEGON International, the warm up for upcoming 2009 Wimbledon Championships, citing a hip injury.

Azarenka was seeded 8th at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships and was the bookmaker's 3rd favorite to win the tournament. She advanced to the second round after Severine Bremond retired. Azarenka had won the first set 6-2. She double bageled Ioana Raluca Olaru in the second round and beat Number 28 Sorana Cirstea in the Third Round 7-6 6-3. She then defeated 10th seed Nadia Petrova, in 3 sets, in the fourth round but fell, 6-2, 6-3, to 2nd seed and eventual winner Serena Williams in the quarter-final.[13]

Receiving a bye to the second round in Los Angeles, Azarenka fell to Maria Sharapova 6-7, 6-4, 6-2. At the Premier 5 event in Cincinnati, Azarenka defeated Anna Chakvetadze in the second round but fell to Jelena Jankovic in the third 7-5, 7-6(4), committing 11 double faults. At the Rogers Cup in Toronto,she was seeded 9th. She lost to returning Kim Clijsters in the second round 7-5, 4-6, 6-1. She led 4-1 in the first set and trailed 1-4 in the second set.

At the US Open, Azarenka was seeded 8th. In her first 2 rounds she defeated Alexandra Dulgheru and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova losing only 5 games, but fell to Francesca Schiavone in the third round 4-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Seeded 8th at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo, she received a bye in the first round and won her first 2 matches against Jie Zheng and Lucie Safarova. She lost to Li Na in the quarterfinals 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(4) giving up a 5-1 lead in the first set. In her next tournament in Beijing, the China Open Azarenka was seeded 9th. In the first round she defeated qualifier Olga Govortsova 6-1, 6-3. She lost to recent Tokyo champion Maria Sharapova 6-3, (5)6-7, 7-5, leading 5-2 in the final set and serving for the match twice.

She intended on playing the Kremlin Cup in Moscow, Russia, however she withdrew.

At the year-ending Sony Ericsson Championships in Doha, Azarenka dismissed of Jelena Jankovic in her first round robin match, 6–2, 6–3.[14] In her second match however, Azarenka was defeated by Caroline Wozniacki, 1–6, 6–4, 7–5. Azarenka failed to convert a match point in the final set in which she led by a break on four occasions and also served for the match at 5–3. Azarenka also conceded her serve at 5–5 to leave Wozniacki serving for the match after receiving a point penalty for racket abuse.[15] Due to her loss to Wozniacki, Azarenka had to defeat second alternate Agnieszka Radwanska to qualify for the semi-finals. She led 6–4, 5–2 with a double break before going on to lose nine of the next ten games, eventually conceding the match afer severe cramping in the third set forced her to retire while trailing 4–6, 7–5, 4–1.[16]

Azarenka ended the year ranked a career high 7th in the world with a 45–15 win-loss record having won three titles and qualified for the year ending championships for the first time in her career.

On December 15, 2009, Azarenka split with long time coach Antonio Van Grichen.

2010

Azarenka began the season at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic exhibition. She was part of Team Europe along with Caroline Wozniacki and Stefan Edberg. In her first match she defeated Gisela Dulko 6-1. The match was played best of 1 set due to rain. She withdrew from her remaining matches due to illness. She was seeded 6th at the Medibank International. She won her first three matches, all 7-5 in the 3rd set. In the semifinals she fell to the 5th seed Elena Dementieva 6-3, 6-1.

Criticism

Azarenka has been criticised by ex-professionals for the noise she makes when hitting the ball.[17] She has also been noted for her tendency to lose her temper during matches.[18]

Career statistics

Grand Slam finals

Doubles: 2 (0-2)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2008 Australian Open Hard Israel Shahar Pe'er Ukraine Alyona Bondarenko
Ukraine Kateryna Bondarenko
2–6, 6–1, 6–4
Runner-up 2009 French Open Clay Russia Elena Vesnina Spain Anabel Medina
Spain Virginia Ruano
6–1, 6–1

Mixed doubles: 3 (2-1)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Runner-up 2007 Australian Open Hard Belarus Max Mirnyi Russia Elena Likhovtseva
Canada Daniel Nestor
6–4, 6–4
Winner 2007 US Open Hard Belarus Max Mirnyi United States Meghann Shaughnessy
India Leander Paes
6–4, 7–6(6)
Winner 2008 French Open Clay United States Bob Bryan Slovenia Katarina Srebotnik
Serbia Nenad Zimonjić
6–2, 7–6(4)

Premier Mandatory finals

Singles: 1 (1-0)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Opponent in the final Score in the final
Winner 2009 Miami Hard United States Serena Williams 6–3, 6–1

Doubles: 1 (1-0)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents in the final Score in the final
Winner 2009 Indian Wells Hard Russia Vera Zvonareva Argentina Gisela Dulko
Israel Shahar Pe'er
6–4, 2–6, [10–5]

WTA Tour Wins

Singles

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments (0)
WTA Championships (0)
Tier I (0) Premier Mandatory (1)
Tier II (0) Premier 5 (0)
Tier III (0) Premier (0)
Tier IV & V (0) International (2)
Titles by Surface
Hard (3)
Grass (0)
Clay (0)
Carpet (0)
Num Date Tournament Location Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 10 January 2009 Brisbane International Brisbane, Australia Hard France Marion Bartoli 6-3, 6-1
2. 21 February 2009 Cellular South Cup Memphis, Tennessee, USA Hard (i) Denmark Caroline Wozniacki 6-1, 6-3
3. 4 April 2009 Sony Ericsson Open Key Biscayne, Florida, USA Hard United States Serena Williams 6-3, 6-1

Doubles

Legend: Before 2009 Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments (0)
WTA Championships (0)
Tier I (0) Premier Mandatory (1)
Tier II (0) Premier 5 (0)
Tier III (0) Premier (0)
Tier IV & V (1) International (1)
Num Date Tournament Location Surface Partner Opponents in Final Score in Final
1. 14 May 2006 Tashkent Open Tashkent, Uzbekistan Hard Belarus Tatiana Poutchek Italy Maria Elena Camerin
Switzerland Emmanuelle Gagliardi
walkover
2. 21 February 2009 Cellular South Cup Memphis, Tennessee, USA Hard (i) Denmark Caroline Wozniacki Ukraine Yuliana Fedak
Netherlands Michaella Krajicek
6-1, 7-6(2)
3. 21 March 2009 BNP Paribas Open Indian Wells, California, USA Hard Russia Vera Zvonareva Argentina Gisela Dulko
Israel Shahar Peer
6-4, 3-6, [10-5]

ITF Circuit singles titles

Num Date Tournament Location Surface Opponent in Final Score in Final
1. 24 July 2005 Roller Open Petange, Luxembourg Clay Ukraine Viktoriya Kutuzova 6-4, 6-2

References

External links

Preceded by
Michaella Krajicek
ITF Junior World Champion
2005
Succeeded by
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova

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