Azarenka wants to for­get her ru­ins in Rome

Sport360 - - Italian Open - By Reem Abulleil @ ReemAbulleil reemabulleil@sport360.com

Vic­to­ria Azarenka is shift­ing her fo­cus straight to Roland Gar­ros fol­low­ing a dis­ap­point­ing open­ing round de­feat to Naomi Osaka in Rome on Mon­day.

The for­mer world No. 1 lost 6-0, 6-3 to the 21-year-old Osaka in what was Azarenka’s fourth tour­na­ment of the sea­son.

Play­ing just her sec­ond event in more than eight months, Azarenka made an im­pres­sive run to the semi-fi­nals in Mi­ami in March. Af­ter her re­turn from ma­ter­nity leave on grass last year in June, the Be­laru­sian only played two tour­na­ments – Mal­lorca and Wim­ble­don – be­fore she was forced to stay away from com­pe­ti­tion due to a cus­tody dis­pute with the fa­ther of her child.

In Madrid last week, Azarenka con­firmed she will be play­ing through Wim­ble­don but her clay prepa­ra­tions for Roland Gar­ros took a hit in Rome with her heavy de­feat to Osaka.

“Noth­ing was work­ing well for me to­day. It was a re­ally poor per­for­mance on my part. Even though I cre­ated some op­por­tu­ni­ties in the sec­ond set, I did not take any of them. To­day was a re­ally, re­ally bad day,” Azarenka told Sport3600 of her match against the Ja­panese.

Osaka is en­joy­ing a stel­lar sea­son in which she clinched a maiden WTA ti­tle in In­dian Wells in March and has posted wins over the likes of world No. 1 Si­mona Halep, Serena Wil­liams and now Azarenka.

“It’s hard for me to judge her game to­day as I think I couldn’t find any re­ally things that would work well for me. But she’s a pow­er­ful player, she has big shots and she used them pretty well to­day. But it’s hard for me to judge based on to­day,” said Azarenka of Osaka.

Azarenka has played just three matches on clay in the past two years but de­spite that, she isn’t plan­ning on en­ter­ing a tour­na­ment next week be­fore the French Open.

“No I’m not go­ing to do that,” she said of the sug­ges­tion.

Azarenka’s best ap­pear­ance at Roland Gar­ros came in 2013 when she made the semi-fi­nals.

The two-time Grand Slam cham­pion is cur­rently ranked No. 84 in the world.

“It was a re­ally poor per­for­mance on my part”

– Azarenka

Set­back: Vic­to­ria Azarenka.

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