Victoria Azarenka loses in return
EASTBOURNE, England -- Victoria Azarenka was reasonably satisfied after losing her first match in more than three months, a three-setter in the first round of the Aegon Championships on Tuesday.
Azarenka, the former No. 1 recovered from a left foot injury, lost 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 to Camila Giorgi of Italy after 2 hours, 46 minutes.
"That's exactly what I wanted," Azarenka said. "I wanted to have a competitive match. I wanted to test myself, to play for a long time, see how my body is going to react.
"I'm pretty pleased with what happened. Obviously the result is the result, but that's a beginning. It's a starting point. There are a lot of positive things that I can take from what happened today."
Giorgi had previously demonstrated her grass-court skills by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon as a qualifier in 2012, and she was a third-round finisher last year.
Azarenka won the first set from 4-2 down. Giorgi took a 5-0 lead in the second, saving five break points at 4-0. In the final set, Giorgi failed to serve out the match at 5-4, but broke again at 6-5 when Azarenka netted a backhand, and closed out the match at her second opportunity.
Despite her defeat, Azarenka believed she was almost ready to compete again at the highest level.
"I was really happy that I was there for every single moment, for every single ball," she said. "I felt that my level of concentration was really high. I just have to get into that rhythm."
In other matches, former champion Ekaterina Makarova defeated Italian qualifier Francesca Schiavone 7-5, 6-3, and seventh-seeded Italian Sara Errani was beaten 7-6 (5), 6-2 by American qualifier Lauren Davis.