MELBOURNE, Australia – Germany’s Laura Siegemund ousted former world number one and two-time Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka on Tuesday to advance to the second round in Melbourne.
Siegemund rallied from a set and a break deficit to beat the Belarusian 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 in a marathon match that lasted for almost three hours.
The German trailed 7-6 (5), 4-2 in the opening set but finally walked away with a dramatic victory.
“I played a good first set and even though I was up in the tiebreak, I let go a little bit and she was right there,” Siegemund said after the match.
“I kind of reset myself and knew I was playing a good match, and I just had to to close in those situations. In the third set, I stayed very focused. I knew she wasn’t going to hand me the match, and I just had to (take) it,” she added.
Siegemund, a former World No. 27, broke serve seven times and out-winnered Azarenka by a margin of 37-29.
Both Azarenka and Siegemund hit 40 unforced errors during the match.
Siegemund won five straight points to win the game, and nine of the last 10 overall to win the match.
The win is the German’s first at a major tournament since the 2016 US Open, following her comeback from a major knee injury she suffered in May of 2017.
“I had a tough journey to come back, and my ranking right now is on the way back up, but to play in this arena, that’s what I want to do. It’s a hard way back after the injury that I had, and I’m just enjoying it so much,” Siegemund had said.
Siegemund will now play against No.28 seed Hsieh Su-wei, who beat Stefanie Voegele in her first round match, 6-2, 6-1.