The comeback of Victoria Azarenka continues as she came from a set down for the second time at this Wimbledon, battling past Brit Heather Watson 3-6, 6-1, 6-4. Azarenka, in just her second tournament back from giving birth to her son Leo, advances to the Round of 16 to face second seed Simona Halep.
It was a nervy start for the Brit as she faced two break points at 15-40, but she battled back with some good serving and a winner to hold. A double fault set up break point for the Brit and she was gifted the break when Azarenka committed a groundstroke error.
The World #103’s fine play continued and more aggressive hitting kept in front. She was on the brink of a double break at 4-1 up, but Azarenka’s own aggression – including a forehand volley put-away, kept her within touch. That and some loose errors from the Brit put the set back on serve.
The continued power hitting would again pay dividends as she broke for a 5-3 lead. This time, the Brit made no mistake when given the lead again. The force of Watson’s game was bearing fruit as she continued to coax errors out of the Belarussian and the opening set went to the underdog.
It was only a matter of time before Azarenka’s level of play picked up and she was ahead 2-0 in the blink of an eye, Watson’s ground game starting to let her down. She did have a break point, wiped away with an Azarenka backhand winner. Watson would scrape out a hold in the next game, but that would be all she could manage in the middle frame as a forehand that goes long on set point seals it 6-1 for Azarenka and she forces a third and deciding set.
In the final set, it was Azarenka who saw the first half-chance, pushing Watson to three deuces before the Brit managed to scrape out a hold. Her next service game was a lot easier, winning it to love to keep her nose out in front at 3-2. Azarenka answered with a piercing backhand winner on game point to level at 3-3.
The next game proved to be the most gripping match: nearly 11 minutes and six deuces with Azarenka breaking for a 4-3 lead. Resolute in front of her home fans, Watson would break straight back, Azarenka’s backhand flying long. The Belarussian would use her defensive skills to break once again and now serving for the match, she saved two break points and from 15-40, wins four points in a row, Watson’s backhand missing the mark and putting an end to this gripping affair.