Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka's return to the Australian Open was short-lived as she was bounced in the first round by Laura Siegemund.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Two-time champion Victoria Azarenka's return to the Australian Open for the first time since 2016 has ended in a first-round loss to Laura Siegemund.
Azarenka, who won back-to-back Australian Open titles 2012 and '13, lost 6-7 (5), 6-4, 6-2 to the No. 110-ranked Siegemund.
The first set was delicately poised in the tiebreaker when Azarenka took control, but Siegemund said she ''took time out and I reset myself'' in the break and regained control of the match. She broke the 29-year-old Azarenka's serve seven times, including three times in the last set.
The former No. 1-ranked Azarenka took time out of the game after the birth of her son, Leo, in December 2016 and reached the round of 16 at Wimbledon in 2017 but did not play any further tournaments in the season after taking time out again for personal reasons.
After skipping last year's Australian Open, she steadily improved at the majors after a first-round exit at the French Open, a second-round loss at Wimbledon and a third-round appearance at the U.S. Open and moved to No. 53 in the rankings.