Qatar Open: Azarenka overcomes Putintseva in Doha comeback

Former World No.1 Victoria Azarenka of Belarus had to stage an incredible fightback in her opening match at the Qatar Open, outlasting Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan 5-7, 6-2, 7-5.

Two-time Australian Open champion Azarenka will have her first meeting with Madison Brengle of the United States in the second round. Brengle defeated Turkish wildcard Ipek Oz on Sunday, 7-5, 6-3.

No.12 seed Azarenka, winner of back-to-back Doha titles in 2012 and 2013, was down 0-4 in the third set and saved a match point at 5-4 in the decider before prevailing after 2 hours and 48 minutes of intense tennis.

Azarenka has now improved her stellar career win-loss record in Doha to 18-2, as she aims to become the first three-time Doha champion.

“Wins like this are sometimes more important than a clean match because you find a way when you’re not playing well,” Azarenka said on court, after the match.

“You just try to find a window, try to find an opportunity. I feel like I didn’t play really well today, but I was fighting for everything. I didn’t really look that the score was down. I know that I have to keep going, I will find my opportunity, and I’m really glad I stuck with it here.”

Putintseva is still seeking her first main-draw win of the season after a first-round defeat at the Australian Open and a loss to Marketa Vondrousova in Dubai qualifying.


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