New mum Azarenka steps up title bid

Victoria Azarenka (File)
Victoria Azarenka (File)

London - Victoria Azarenka stepped up her bid to become the first mother to win Wimbledon in 37 years as the former world number one defeated Russian 15th seed Elena Vesnina on Wednesday.

Azarenka cruised to a 6-3, 6-3 victory in the second round of her first Grand Slam since taking a year off to have her first child in December. 

In just her second tournament following son Leo's birth, the 27-year-old Belarusian hopes to become the first mother to lift the Wimbledon women's singles trophy since Evonne Goolagong in 1980. 

Only Goolagong, Margaret Court and Kim Clijsters have won a Grand Slam singles title after having a child. 

Having been made to wait around all day to play her first round match against CiCi Bellis on Monday, Azarenka had complained that the scheduling wasn't helpful for a new mum. 

All England Club officials heeded her advice and Azarenka was given the opening match on Court Three. 

Vesnina reached the Wimbledon semi-finals last year, but Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion, extended her winning streak against the Russian to eight matches with a powerful performance. 

Azarenka, twice a Wimbledon semi-finalist, will play British wild card Heather Watson for a place in the last 16.

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