Full Name: Victoria Azarenka
Date of Birth: July 31st, 1989
Place of Birth: Minsk, Belarus
Height: 6ft 0in
Turned Professional: 2003
Photo of Victoria Azarenka by Christian Mesiano
Victoria Azarenka is the current World Number 1 after claiming two consecutive Australian Open singles titles (2012 and 2013). She is the first Belarusian player to win a Grand Slam singles title. She also has two mixed doubles Grand Slam titles, the 2007 US Open with Max Mirnyi and the 2008 French Open with Bob Bryan.
Azarenka made her debut on the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior tour in November 2003 in Israel, winning a doubles title in partnership with Olga Govortsova. Azarenka reached the semi-finals of the girls' competition at Wimbledon after having two match points for a place in the final.
In 2005, Azarenka won the Australian and the US junior Grand Slam titles to establish herself as the World Champion. She also reached her first semi-final on the main tour in Guangzhou, China. In 2006, she reached the third round of the US Open, her best result in a Grand Slam event. She followed up with another semi-final in Tashkent, Uzbekistan and ended the year reaching the final of an ITF event in Pittsburgh, losing to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak.
Azarenka started 2007 just inside the top 100 in the world rankings and reached the third round of the Australian Open, losing to Jelena Janković. She was eliminated at the same stage at Wimbledon but defeated Martina Hingis on her way to the fourth round at the US Open. She claimed the mixed doubles title with her countryman Max Mirnyi and defeated Maria Sharapova in the Kremlin Cup, taking her up to number 27 in the rankings.
She started 2008 with a semi-final place at the Mondial Australian Women's Hardcourts tournament in Gold Coast, Australia. She was beaten in the third round of the Australian Open but made it to the final of the doubles tournament with Pe’er. She made an impressive start to the French Open but was beaten by Kuznetsova in the fourth round. She won the mixed doubles title with American Bob Bryan. She was knocked out at the third round stage at Wimbledon and the US Open.
Azarenka reached her fifth career final at the Brisbane International 2009, defeating third seed Marion Bartoli to win her first WTA career title. She continued her improvement at the Australian Open, progressing to the fourth round for the first time before having to concede to Serena Williams through heat exhaustion. She soon added her second WTA title by beating her victorious doubles partner and top seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the final.
In 2009, Azarenka won the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida. She defeated Serena Williams in straight sets in the final, increasing her world ranking position to number 8. She reached her first Grand Slam quarter-final at Roland Garros, losing to Dinara Safina in three sets. She reached the same stage at Wimbledon, losing to eventual winner Serena Williams. Azarenka ended the year ranked world no. 7.
In 2010, Williams was again responsible for her exit at the quarter-final stage of the Australian Open, the third year running she had lost to the same opponent. She then lost in the final of the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships to Serena’s sister, Venus Williams. Injuries plagued her throughout a largely disappointing season and she dropped down to 18 in the rankings before winning the Bank of the West Classic, her first title since April 2009. Her most dramatic injury came at the US Open when she collapsed and suffered a concussion but crept back into the top ten with victory in the Kremlin Cup.
In 2011, Azarenka was beaten by Li Na in the fourth round of the Australian Open. She picked up her first title of the year in the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open by defeating Maria Sharapova in the final.
She then won the Andalucia Tennis Experience, this time accounting for Irina-Camelia Begu, elevating her to a career high of world no. 5. She was up to no. 4 after losing in the final of the Madrid Masters. She lost to Li Na in the quarterfinals of the French Open but went into Wimbledon seeded four. She made her first Grand Slam semi-final appearance, losing to Petra Kvitová in three sets. Azarenka was beaten in the third round of the US Open by Serena Williams but went on to win her third title of the year in the BGL Luxembourg Open. She ended the season losing the final of the 2011 WTA Tour Championships to Kvitova, again in three sets.
Azarenka claimed her first title of the season at the 2012 Apia International Sydney as the third seed. She defeated her first three opponents, Stefanie Voegele, Jelena Jankovic and Marion Bartoli all in straight sets to advance to the semi-finals where she defeated the seventh seed, Agnieszka Radwańska in three sets to reach the final. She defeated the defending champion Li Na in three sets.
Azarenka stormed to the quarter-finals of the 2012 Australian Open without dropping a set and then overcame Agnieszka Radwańska in three sets. Victory over defending champion Kim Clijsters put her through to her first Major singles final and a meeting with world no. 4 Maria Sharapova. Azarenka produced her best tennis to win nine consecutive games in a 6-3, 6-0 victory and secured her first Grand Slam singles title. The win also made her the world number 1 for the first time. She followed up by taking the Qatar Total Open and also won in Doha. In March, she extended her winning run to twenty-three matches by winning the BNP Paribas Open.
Azarenka teamed up with Max Mirnyi to win the mixed doubles gold at the London Olympics, beating Britain's Laura Robson and Andy Murray in the final. In April, she was twice beaten in finals on the tour, losing to Sharapova and Serena Williams. She could not advance beyond the fourth round in the French Open and lost her world number spot to Roland Garros champion Sharapova. Azarenka won her first five matches at Wimbledon in straight sets but again lost out to Serena Williams in the semi-final. Azarenka reached the quarter-finals of the US Open for the first time and defeated defending champion Samantha Stosur in a third set tiebreak. She battled back from a set down to beat Sharapova I the semi-final to meet her old adversary Serena Williams. She held a commanding 5-3 lead in the final set but lost to the American for the ninth time in ten matches.
She won the China Open, beating Sharapova in the final for a 5th overall title of the year. Azarenka then added a sixth at the Generali Ladies Linz. Azarenka ended the year as the world number one with a record of 69 victories and only ten defeats. She picked up where she left off, reaching the semi-finals at the Brisbane International before claiming her second Grand Slam at the 2013 Australian Open. After dropping the opening set, she fought back to defeat Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3.