Before the match this was arguably the most anticipated match of the day, with Azarenka and Halep both former world number ones and Grand Slam champions. However, despite getting off to a strong start today, Azarenka has struggled with inconsistency and off court issues in the past season or two, and she was punished by Halep today.
Down 1-3 early on, Halep dropped just one game in the match after that, prevailing 6-3, 6-1 in just 65 minutes as she eased her way past the Belorussian.
Erratic Azarenka proves no match for consistent Halep
It was Halep who was under pressure early on, saving break points in her opening service game, and Azarenka broke through in the Romanian’s service game to break for a 3-1 lead. Some unforced errors, however, saw the Belorussian lose her lead immediately, and Halep made her pay, saving more break points before breaking Azarenka again, consolidating for a 5-3 lead. Halep continued to ramp up the pressure, and forced more errors from her opponent as she broke again to take the opener 6-3.
The second set started just as tight as the first, with both missing break chances early on, though it was Halep who broke through first, breaking for a 3-1 lead and consolidating to go just two games away from the second week. The unforced errors kept flowing from Azarenka’s racket, and the seventh seed broke once again for a 5-1 lead, holding comfortably to reach the second week for the fourth time at SW19.
Azarenka started brightly, but ultimately 33 unforced errors to just 14 winners cost her greatly today, especially against someone like Halep, who is generally so consistent around the court. The seventh seed and former French Open champion hit 13 winners to just nine unforced errors today, and will be satisfied with how she played ahead of the fourth round.