Azarenka starts Doha title defense with a straight-sets win

In her first match since winning the Australian Open title, top seed and defending champion Victoria Azarenka overcame a 0-2 0-30 deficit in the opening set against Romina Oprandi to beat the Swiss 6-2 6-3 in the second round of the Qatar Total Open. During the off-season, Azarenka practiced in Doha for two weeks in December.

In the round of 16 Azarenka will face world No.44 Christina McHale, who upset seed No.17 Lucie Safarova. Azarenka and McHale played each other once, almost three years ago, and the American won the match when Azarenka retired while leading 6-2 2-2.

Additional info: Due to Azarenka’s controversial medical timeout in the Australian Open semifinal against Sloane Stephens, the WTA issued a statement that they are considering the reinvention of the medical timeout rule for the next season. They are expecting to reach a decision around the US Open. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)

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