NEW YORK — Victoria Azarenka “pinished” Angelique Kerber.
After closing out a grueling three-set victory that took near 3 hours, Azarenka revealed that hitting partner Sascha Bajin had coined a new term that combined the words “finish” and “punish.” She consults notes to herself between games, and that’s the word that steadied her after she wasted five match points on the 11th-seeded Kerber’s serve.
She said in an on-court interview that she told herself “I’m going to stay here all day” if that was what it took to win.
Instead, the 20th-seeded Azarenka served out the match at love to clinch a 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 victory in the third round Saturday. The two combined for 97 winners and 12 breaks of serve and played 35 rallies of at least 10 shots.
“I just enjoy this hustle, this running down every ball,” Azarenka said.
She next faces American Varvara Lepchenko.