After long first game, Azarenka dominates in 6-0, 6-0 win
NEW YORK -- For all of one game, and only one game, Victoria Azarenka faced a bit of a test in the first round of the U.S. Open.
And after needing 10 minutes to break serve at the outset, the second-seeded Azarenka breezed the rest of the way Tuesday night, putting together a 6-0, 6-0 victory over 99th-ranked Dinah Pfizenmaier of Germany.
"There are things, you know, I feel like should be better," Azarenka said. "But overall, it's a good start."
Yeah, not too shabby. It's the third time in Azarenka's career that she managed to win a Grand Slam match by 6-0, 6-0.
This one was played in Arthur Ashe Stadium, where Azarenka lost in three sets to Serena Williams in last year's final at Flushing Meadows.
"The last time I was here," Azarenka said, "it was very emotional."
This one was far, far less competitive or gripping, except perhaps for the opening game, which lasted 18 points spread over 10 minutes, until two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka converted her sixth break point. The rest of the match took a total of 55 minutes.
Asked whether she thought back to what happened 12 months ago at all while stepping out on court, Azarenka said: "Not really (a) flashback from last year."
She continued: "I couldn't wait. I was warming up, all pumped up. Night session is always special in New York. Just playing in New York is always special for me. So definitely excited. I was a little bit anxious, actually. Couldn't wait to go out there."
If she felt any shred of jitters, Azarenka worked through them in that first game. By the time she smacked a backhand winner down the line to end the match after 65 minutes, she had won 61 of the 95 points that were played.
Azarenka played cleanly, with only 10 unforced errors to 27 by Pfizenmaier, who was making her debut in the main draw of the U.S. Open. Azarenka saved all three break points she faced, while converting 6 of 14.
Her best success has come on hard courts, the surface for 16 of her 17 tournament titles. That includes this month's tournament at Cincinnati, where Azarenka beat Williams in the final -- her second victory over the No. 1-ranked American this season.
They only could meet in the final at Flushing Meadows again this year.
A superstitious sort, Azarenka prefers not to know what her tournament bracket looks like, waiting to find out one by one about upcoming opponents from her coach.
Up next for her is 323rd-ranked Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada, a 7-5, 7-6 (5) winner against Vesna Dolonc of Serbia.
"From here," Azarenka said, "it's just important to improve."
Won't be possible to produce a better scoreline.