Defending Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka is in action with the game live streaming to watch from the heat of Melbourne.
Victoria Azarenka is seen as a comfortable 1/66 to defeat the Czech Republic’s Barbara Zahlavova-Strycova and continue her quest for a third straight title at Rod Laver Arena.
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It’s not often that one person can dominate a Grand Slam several years running but Victoria Azarenka is looking to do just that as she searches for her third straight title in Melbourne.
The world number 2 will look to continue her quest on Thursday as she takes on world number 83 Barbara Zahlavova-Strycova in the second round.
It will be a similar test to which Azarenka faced on Tuesday in the first round where she managed to inflict a straight sets defeat to Sweden’s Johanna Larsson by winning 7-6 6-2.
This week has already posed a lot of questions for Azarenka who played through extreme temperatures of 43C in the first round which no doubt tested both the mental and physical limits of the two time champion.
With conditions still expected to be above 40C on Thursday, it will no doubt mean that the Belarusian will need to dig deep to make sure she doesn’t get caught out at Melbourne Park.
On the other side of things, Barbara Zahlavova-Strycova will be desperate to get a win as she continues to try and climb back up the rankings after a poor 2013.
The Czech player has been ranked as high as 39th in the world and has achieved some fame in the past having won the Bell Challenge in Quebec City back in 2011.
After beating Hsieh Su-Wei 6-1 4-6 6-1 on Tuesday, Zahlavova-Strycova has found herself in the second round for the fourth time at the Australian Open and there’s no doubt that the Czech player will want to reach the third round and match her best ever performance at the showpiece event.
It’s not the first time these two have met on the WTA Tour with Azarenka winning both of their clashes in 2009 and 2011 in straight sets.
As long as the heat doesn’t get to Azarenka, the defending champion should be able to get through her game unscathed which is where the tournament starts to get serious as the first week draws to a close.