Former world number one Victoria Azarenka rallied back to win her first match back on tour, saving three match points to defeat Japan’s Risa Ozaki 6-3, 4-6, 7-6(7) at the Mallorca Open in a match that began on Tuesday and was finished on Wednesday.
“It was definitely complicated, having to stop and come back for a short amount of time,” said Azarenka. “But it was really intense because it was the end of a third set. I had a break, but the intensity of the match was at a high-level right away.”
Azarenka missed more than a year following her pregnancy and subsequent birth to her first child, but came out firing on Tuesday to win the opening set.
But Ozaki answered back in the second set and took a double break lead to begin the third set, before building a 5-4 lead. When darkness arrived, the match was postponed, and when play resumed on Wednesday she had a chance to serve for the match.
She would be broken, and Azarenka would go on to win the deciding tiebreaker and advance.
“I definitely felt better on the tennis court, especially playing-wise,” said Azarenka. “I wouldn’t say I had the best preparation coming to this tournament, but mentally, it’s better to go through this kind of a match.”
Azarenka next takes on Croatia’s Ana Konjuh.
American CiCi Bellis powered her way into the quarterfinals in Mallorca, rallying from a set down to beat Germany’s Mona Barthel 4-6, 6-4, 6-2.
She plays Kristyna Pliskova next.