In a match-up of former No. 1s, two-time champion Victoria Azarenka crushed Jelena Jankovic 6-1, 6-1 Friday at the Miami Open.
Azarenka, who won the Miami titles in 2009 and 2011, won a 28-minute final game to close out the Indian Wells finalist.
“I just really tried to stay focused and tried to find a way to stay in that game,” Azarenka said. “I had to save a couple of break points right away, and then, you know, there was just this battle there.
“I know Jelena is a fighter. Doesn’t matter what the score is, she will not give up. Some of those rallies she just went for it. So I just had to stay focused and stay tough and try to find a way to finish the match. That’s what I’m really looking for now – stepping up my game when it’s really needed.”
Before the rains came late in the day, American phenom CiCi Bellis beat Zarina Diyas 6-2, 6-1. Diyas ended Bellis’s run at the US Open last year. The 15-year-old could meet Serena Williams Sunday. The World No. 1’s match was Friday night against Monica Niculescu was cancelled.
“It’s going to be really fun,” Bellis said of the playing Serena. “I have nothing to lose, so I’m just going to play my game and see what happens.”
Sloane Stephens showed some old form upended Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys 6-4, 6-2. “I just kind of let the emotions get to me,” said Keys who teared up toward the end.
‘I know Maddy is going to have a great career and I’m going to see her for the next 10 years of my life consistently,” Sloane said. “I’m looking forward to seeing her get better.”
“It’s like you’re having a really terrible day, but my terrible day is in front of hundreds of people and then broadcast on TV. That’s not always fun.”
Indian Wells champion Simona Halep went three sets with comeback girl Nicole Vaidisova 6-4, 2-6, 6-1.
“I’m not used to playing a long tournament like Indian Wells and coming straight to another one like Miami,” Halep said. “It’s tough because every match is difficult at this level, and you have to be very focused for every single match. I’m just trying to keep my mind focused and stay relaxed.
“I feel ready to start the tournament and I’ll see how far I can go.”
Sabine Lisicki, Ana Ivanovic, Flavia Pennetta and Belinda Bencic were also winners.
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