Victoria AzarenkaSYDNEY – She’s flying under the radar but world No. 3 Victoria Azarenka looms as one of Samantha Stosur’s biggest Australian Open hurdles.
Long touted as a major winner in waiting, Azarenka has arrived in Australia with a career-high ranking and quietly confident of finally breaking her grand slam duck at Melbourne Park.
“I really want it bad,” Azarenka said yesterday.
“Winning a slam is definitely one of the goals this year. I’m working hard to achieve this.”
The Belarusian has been knocking louder and louder on the grand slam door, losing to the eventual champion in six majors over the past two years, including to Serena Williams back-to-back at Melbourne Park in 2009-10.
But after collecting three titles and charging to the Wimbledon semi-finals in 2011, Azarenka says she’s ready to take the next step.
The 22-year-old is drawing inspiration from Stosur, Petra Kvitova and Li Na, who joined the grand slam winners’ club last year.
“Oh, I’m ready,” Azarenka said. “It’s the little things – just a little bit more belief. I need to be more demanding in those big matches, and also sometimes a little bit of luck is good.
“But I’ve had great experiences. I’m really lucky and happy that I went through those tough moments so that next time I face it, I can learn from those experiences.”
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