Monday April 15, 2024

Victoria Azarenka eyes victory against Elena Rybakina in Dubai

“It's a great challenge [...] I'm looking forward to that every time [...] Challenge excites me,” says Belarusian player

By Sports Desk
February 20, 2024
Kazakhstans Elena Rybakina (right) is congratulated by Belarus Victoria Azarenka after their semifinal match at Australian Open. — AFP
Kazakhstan's Elena Rybakina (right) is congratulated by Belarus' Victoria Azarenka after their semifinal match at Australian Open. — AFP

After defeating Netherlands’ Arantxa Rus at the Dubai Tennis Championships, former number 1 Victoria Azarenka will take on Elena Rybakina in a second-round matchup.

Commenting on her performance in the previous tournament, the Belarusian tennis player stated that she values her Doha clash with Iga Swiatek in which she faced defeat after beating the likes of Magdalena Frech, Wang Xinyu, and Jelena Ostapenko to reach the quarterfinals at the Qatar Open.

Azarenka broke in the opening game of the match against Swiatek but immediately relinquished the advantage as she broke back to level the proceedings. Swiatek saved a break point, held serve, and broke in the next game to surge ahead in the eighth game of the opening set. She later served out the set to take the lead in Doha.

The Polish tennis star upped her game in the second set, winning all games, to seal the match 6-4, 6-0, marking her 11th straight victory at the tournament.

Azarenka stated that the match against Swiatek helped her figure out how she matched up against the WTA tour's top-ranked player. She also said that she always fancies her chances against the likes of Aryna Sabalenka and Elena Rybakina.

"Sometimes when you play these big matches, the expectation rises, that it's going to be something incredible. For me it was very important to play against Iga in Doha. I wish I was physically a bit more ready, but I kind of understand how I can match against her. A match against Aryna, a match against Elena, I always have chances," the 34-year-old told the WTA.

"For me, it is to be able to find that key where I make those right or better choices in those moments. And then we'll see. But I will definitely try my best to figure those things out. It's a great challenge. I'm looking forward to that every time. Challenge excites me," she added.

She will face 2022 Wimbledon champion Elena Rybakina.