Tennis: Azarenka in stuttering start to Australian Open title defence
MELBOURNE (AFP) - Title-holder Victoria Azarenka moved into the Australian Open second round on Tuesday but she made a meal of the match and looked far from her best in blazing conditions on Rod Laver Arena.
The second seed overcame world number 91 Johanna Larsson 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 but her game was riddled with unforced errors and poor serving, in contrast to Serena Williams' clinical first-round win late on Monday.
The Belarusian took an hour and 46 minutes to get past the Swede as temperatures soared towards 43 degrees Celsius.
"It was a tough first set. The first match can often be tricky and the weather was not helping," said Azarenka. "It was important to win that first set and I really found my rhythm in the second set."