Tennis: Azarenka saves three match points to win on her return from motherhood

Victoria Azarenka, returning to Japan's Risa Ozaki in the first round of the Mallorca Open on June 21, 2017, gave birth to son Leo in December and had not played a competitive match since last year's French Open.
Victoria Azarenka, returning to Japan's Risa Ozaki in the first round of the Mallorca Open on June 21, 2017, gave birth to son Leo in December and had not played a competitive match since last year's French Open.PHOTO: EPA
Besides squandering three match points, Japan's Risa Ozaki led 5-3 in the tie-break before succumbing to Victoria Azarenka at the Mallorca Open WTA tennis tournament in Santa Ponca, Balearic Islands on June 21, 2017.
Besides squandering three match points, Japan's Risa Ozaki led 5-3 in the tie-break before succumbing to Victoria Azarenka at the Mallorca Open WTA tennis tournament in Santa Ponca, Balearic Islands on June 21, 2017.PHOTO: EPA

(REUTERS) - Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka marked her return to the WTA Tour by snatching victory from the jaws of defeat against Japan's Risa Ozaki at the Mallorca Open on Wednesday.

The 27-year-old, who gave birth to son Leo in December and had not played a competitive match since last year's French Open, saved three match points to win 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (9-7).

World No. 74 Ozaki had actually been two breaks ahead in the third set and was serving at 5-4 when darkness descended on the Santa Ponsa lawns on Tuesday.

On the resumption Azarenka broke serve but immediately dropped her own before Ozaki moved 40-0 ahead to move to within a point of a victory.

But the Belarusian, showing her trademark grit, clawed her way back from the brink and despite trailing 3-5 in the tie-break sealed a remarkable victory with a backhand winner.