Azarenka reaches first final as a mom in Monterrey

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After winning her first doubles title in eight years, with Zheng Saisai in Acapulco in early March, Belarusian Victoria Azarenka continues to find success in Mexico, overcoming top seed Angelique Kerber in 6-4 4-6 6-1 at the Monterrey Open to reach her first final since giving birth in December 2016.

The fifth-seeded Azarenka was nearly a double break down in the first set, but won the final four games to take it 6-4. In the second set she was again down, as Kerber had a 5-2 lead, and even though Azarenka saved a set point and was close to leveling to 5-all, the German three-time Grand Slam champion took the match to a decider.

The former world No.1 Azarenka, currently ranked No.67, started the third set aggressively, not wasting her opportunities, and raced out to a 5-0 lead. Kerber saved a match point to win one game and avoid a bagel, but eventually fell to Azarenka for the eighth time in nine tries.

In the final, Azarenka will face defending champion and second seed Garbine Muguruza, the French Open and Wimbledon titlist who defeated eighth seed Magdalena Rybarikova 6-2 6-3 in the Monterrey semifinals.

I really admire Vika’s determination to return to the tennis heights. I can only imagine how difficult it is being a single mom of a toddler and traveling the world. It’s empowering to see her in a WTA final. Balancing motherhood and tennis career is more than challenging, but it’s well worth it. Have a look at these wonderful moments of Vika and son Leo from the Miami Open.

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