The very first round of the 2019 WTA Auckland is set to feature a blockbuster encounter between two major champions – Venus Williams and Victoria Azarenka.
Watch & bet on Venus Williams v Victoria Azarenka live in the WTA ASB Classic Auckland with bet365 here* on Tuesday, January 1.
*Geo-restrictions apply & pre-funded account needed
It is fair to say that the two players have been handed a tricky draw in New Zealand. At the same time, tennis fans across the world are eagerly waiting for the two giants to lock horns.
Victoria Azarenka v Venus Williams Head to Head
Despite being on the WTA Tour for a considerable period of time, the two players have met each other only six times. Venus leads 4-2 although; she lost her last couple of fixtures to Azarenka. They most recently played in the Madrid Masters 2015 when the Belarusian won the match in straight sets.
Azarenka’s Resurgence in 2019?
Azarenka is particularly confident heading into the new season. After spending the last couple of years fighting custody battles and injuries, the two-time Australian Open champion now appears to be particularly optimistic about her future. She has spent the last couple of weeks training hard and is eager to see where her efforts take her.
Since becoming a mother, her return to the tour hasn’t been that easy. The end result was a subsequent drop in the rankings and a dearth of singles titles. In 2018, her best result came at the Miami Masters where she reached the semifinal before losing to Sloane Stephens.
She ended her season in Tokyo, where she was a quarterfinalist. Since then, Azarenka has had plenty of time to rest and practice for the upcoming spell. She also stands to benefit from the introduction of new WTA rules that allow new mothers to return to the tour in three years and use their protected ranking.
Williams’ Fifth Appearance in Auckland
Venus won the ASB Classic back in 2015. Now, she is back into the competition to add another Auckland trophy to her cabinet, quite possibly for the last time. The 38-year-old could be playing her last season on the WTA Tour and she will be keen on winning as much as possible.
In 2017, she returned to the top 5 after a remarkable performance on the circuit. She reached the final at the Australian Open, Wimbledon, and WTA Finals. In 2018, however, she struggled with her form and as a result, she fell out of the top 30 just as quickly as she moved up.
She ended the season with a win-loss record of 17-11 as the World No. 38.
Azarenka vs. Venus – Who Will Win?
The two players are evenly matched. However, given the sharp hit that Williams’ form took in the previous season, Azarenka will definitely fancy her chances here. The Belarusian is likely to start the match as the favorite to win in three sets.
You can watch Venus Williams v Victoria Azarenka live in the WTA ASB Classic Auckland on bet365. It will be played on Tuesday, January 1.