Aug 28 2013
Second seed Victoria Azarenka produced a statement of intent as she whitewashed Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-0 6-0 in the first round of the US Open.
Azarenka, last year's beaten finalist, put in a strong and wily performance, manipulating her opponent around the court, but in truth her victory owed as much to world number 99 Pfizenmaier's inadequacies as her own brilliance.
The Belarusian needed five break points to take the first game, eventually sealing it with a forehand volley, but she was more efficient from then on.
She broke again with some help from a favourable net cord for 3-0, while a succession of errors from her German opponent helped her take game five on her way to a clean sweep in the first set.
Though the one-way traffic continued at the start of the second, Pfizenmaier looked set to finally get on the board when she had two game points in game three, but she was tentative and Azarenka took full advantage.
Down 5-0 in the second and facing the dreaded "double bagel" Pfizenmaier produced her best shot of the match - a forehand winner down the line - and duly took the applause of the remaining fans inside the Arthur Ashe stadium.
But it was the smallest of victories as Azarenka completed her comprehensive win in an hour and four minutes to book a second-round clash with Canada's Aleksandra Wozniak.
"It was a lot closer than the score [suggests]," Azarenka said. "I felt I really played well in the important moments.
"I felt I served pretty consistently.
"From here it's important to improve."