One of the more dominant players in the first half of this year is Victoria Azarenka. This Belarussian (from Belarus) player won her first 26 matches in 2012. Among those tournament wins is one of the grand slams, the Australian Open. She is very well known for her dramatic episodes and her characteristic grunt that sounds like a choir boy getting hit in the stomach in the middle of a strong note.
Azarenka plays an aggressive baselining style that showcases her excellent footwork. She stands almost on the line and uses her ground strokes to move the ball around. She hits the ball with slight topspin and does not really go for lines. Her game is very thoughtfully put together. She has no great strengths and no real weaknesses.
Why She Wins
Azarenka’s game is based on the concept of stealing time from the opponent. She plays really fast and tests your footwork. As she moves along in the match you can see her opponents getting tired of the accelerated rallies. Azarenka will keep hitting safe rally strokes at a fast pace until you either hit a ball that lets her move towards the net or make a mistake.
Why She Loses
Azarenka allows her emotion to show on the court. Her expressive nature leads to meltdowns that cost her matches. Youtube is full of evidence of this. She also has problems with people that play more towards the lines. Ladies that try to hit the ball past her instead of through her have a pretty good chance of giving her trouble. In the past, she has tried to be a more powerful ball striker and wore herself out prematurely. Given her explosive personality, she might go back to this self-damaging style.
There are not many top five players in history that have been as entertaining as Victoria Azarenka. She is one of the better players in the press conferences and on the court. Look for her to go deep at Wimbledon and clean up when all the players come to the United States for the US Open Tour.
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