(January 25, 2016) Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka has moved into the quarterfinals of the Australian Open with a a 6-2, 6-4 win over Barbora Strycova. This marks the third year in succession that the two women have played each other in Melbourne. They faced each other in the second round in 2014 and the third round in 2015.
“Maybe next year, we’ll play in the quarters!” Azarenka joked with on-court interviewer Rennae Stubbs after the match.
“She’s such a tough opponent, and I’m just so happy that I went through. I played smart, aggressively, took my opportunities and I really kept my composure.”
“I was more focused on staying focused because she’s a type of player that throws you a lot off your rhythm,” Azarenka said to media. I was just trying to focus more on execution and be aggressive and follow my game plan from the first point to the last.
“But I think I played pretty well there. There are things I could have done better I think always. That’s the perfectionist in me. But overall, pretty solid.”
The 14th seed Azarenka will match up against No. 7 Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals. Kerber beat German countrywoman Annika Beck 6-4, 6-0 in the first match in Rod Laver Arena on Monday.
“I’m looking forward to that,” Azarenka said. “We always have such amazing battles. She’s such a fighter and an amazing person off the court, as well. I just want to make sure we show some good tennis, enjoy myself and do my best. I’m sure she’s going to do the same.”
Azarenka recently defeated Kerber in the Brisbane International final earlier in the month.
“I had tough matches against her in the past,” Kerber said. “The last one was in Brisbane in the finals. I never won against her right now, but that will be a challenge, you know. I will looking forward when I play against her to really take my chances, take the next match.
“It’s a new one, it starts from zero, and I know what’s coming from her. I will try to be aggressive and try to go and win the match. She played very well from the first match here in Melbourne. Yeah, I will try to get another chance the next challenge against her, and we will see what’s happen then.”
Kerber talked about wheat she needs to do to win against the Belarusian:”I think I must serve for sure better, because she’s returning very well. Be more aggressive. Playing aggressive. Moving good and actually playing my game like I’m playing on practice and just focusing more on me and not on her game.”
Kerber survived a first round scare when she was down match point to Misaki Doi.
“It’s exciting,” Azarenka commented. “You know, I always look forward to play against her. She gives me always tough matches. I prepare myself for a very tough match because she’s very solid, very consistent, and an amazing fighter.
“I have to, you know, play my best game to beat her, for sure.”
Azarenka has a 6-0 record against the German.