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Wimbledon 2014: Azarenka her own harshest critic

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus looks troubled during her defeat by Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia. Picture: Max Rossi/Reuters

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus looks troubled during her defeat by Bojana Jovanovski of Serbia. Picture: Max Rossi/Reuters

  • by JIM VAN WIJK AT WIMBLEDON
 

FORMER world No 1 Victoria Azarenka delivered a stinging critique of her own performance in the 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 second-round defeat to unfancied Serbian Bojana Jovanovski on Court Three.

The eighth seed, twice a semi-finalist at the All England Club, was playing only the third match of her comeback from a foot injury. Belarusian Azarenka – twice the Australian Open champion and a double runner-up at the US Open – recovered after losing the first set to level the match. However, Jovanovski, ranked 45th in the world, produced a determined response, continuing to stretch the experienced 24-year-old before eventually closing out victory after almost an hour of the deciding set.

Azarenka said: “She played well and I don’t want to take credit away from her but I always look at what I did.

“I felt today it [defeat] was a lot up to me from not converting – I just saw I had 16 break points, that is ridiculous to me.

“I am just really p****d off right now for not taking those opportunities. I think that’s okay to be that way because I really need to go through that and learn from it and just take it from here. I am going to be hard on myself just because I want to be better.”

Azarenka, who started 2012 with a 26-match winning streak, is determined to regroup ahead of the hard-court season.

She added: “Match endurance is important, to stay more consistent in the matches and that is going to come by playing matches, but physically I feel fine. There are a lot of things that still have to be tuned so, basically, it is getting back down to work and I have a lot of work to do, simple as that.”

Meanwhile, Petra Kvitova is relishing the battle of “big champions” after she secured a third-round showdown against Venus Williams. The sixth-seeded Czech, the champion at the All England Club three years ago, saw off Germany’s Mona Barthel in straight sets on Court One.

Williams, the five-time former Wimbledon singles champion, had earlier survived a scare to see off Japan’s Kurumi Nara 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 on Court Two.

Williams and Kvitova are now likely to go head to head tomorrow, with Kvitova holding a 3-1 advantage from previous meetings, the last earlier this year.

“She is a big champion here as well, likes to play on the grass, and I am totally the same,” Kvitova, a former world No 2 said.

“I am looking forward for this match. I think it is going to be a great fight.”

Kvitova added: “The key I think is to be very important to stay confident and play for every point, because I know she can play really well.

“Venus plays flat shots like me on the grass, and of course she has a big serve, so I will need to return that.”

Kvitova has a decent record at Wimbledon, reaching the semi-final in 2010 and the last eight in each of the years since lifting the Venus Rose Water dish on Centre Court with victory over Maria Sharapova.

The 24-year-old certainly makes the most out of her time at SW19. “We have the same house as the last year and the year before. It is not superstition really. We just have a big house, what we need,” she said.

“Also we went just once or two times in the same restaurant we went last year. “It feels like home, yeah. I know everything about the house, about everything around, so that is nice.”

Nara, meanwhile, was not too downhearted after her loss, during which the 22-year-old needed a medical time out at the end of the first set because of a thigh injury.

“It is very special for me, because I saw Venus like when I was a child, so was very happy to play with her,” she said.

 

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