A former world no. 1 and multiple Grand Slam champion Victoria Azarenka is through to the second round in Toronto, defeating Camila Giorgi 6-2, 6-2 in 72 minutes. The Italian was victorious in their first two meetings but it was all about Azarenka in this one, with the Belarusian dominating with her first serve and on the return, taking almost 60% of the points behind Giorgi’s initial shot and earning six breaks to control the scoreboard all the time despite getting broken twice.
Giorgi couldn’t find the first serve and she needed it badly against such a strong rival who tamed her shots nicely to keep the points on her racquet and march over the finish line. A qualifier Alison Riske prevailed against Maria Sakkari 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 in two hours and 20 minutes, coming for a 4-2 down in the final set and saving three match points in the tie break to perform a great turnaround.
Maria took the opening set with a break in game ten, losing the edge in the second when Riske broke her three times to set up a decider where the Greek opened a 4-2 lead, moving closer to the finish line. Riske broke back in the very next game and took six out of the last points at 3-6 in the tie break to repel match points and cross the finish line first for a huge celebration.
Carla Suarez Navarro took down Venus Williams 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 18 minutes for the fourth victory over the American in 11 matches. The Spaniard suffered two breaks and stole more than half of the return points, delivering five breaks from 12 chances and taking the last four games to finish the job in style and race into the next round.
Competing only for the second time after Miami, Bianca Andreescu defeated the fellow Canadian Eugenie Bouchard 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 in two hours and nine minutes, with both players leaving their everything on the court. Back in January, Bianca lost just two games against Eugenie in Newport Beach and that wasn’t the case this time around, with Bouchard who gathered the momentum after the second set and stayed competitive before Bianca claimed three of the last four games at 3-3 in the decider to prevail and score a significant victory on a comeback trail.
Donna Vekic saved three match points against Madison Keys in a 3-6, 7-6, 7-6 triumph after two and a half hours, surviving a tough return game at 4-5 in set number two and battling through the rest of the clash to emerge as the winner after another hard-fought tie break in the decider.
Kiki Bertens had an easy day at the office against a qualifier Francesca Di Lorenzo while Marie Bouzkova toppled Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5, using the fact the American is far from her best ahead of the home Major in New York, suffering another early loss after Washington.