NEW YORK Twelve months after her agonizing defeat in the U.S. Open final, Victoria Azarenka made a triumphant return to Flushing Meadows on Tuesday.
In her first match back on the Arthur Ashe Stadium since her gut-wrenching loss to Serena Williams, Azarenka chalked up a rare double-bagel win, thrashing Germany's Dinah Pfizenmaier 6-0 6-0 in just over an hour.
"I'm really happy to be back on this court, the last time I was here it was very emotional," she said.
"To come back and compete at one of the most famous arenas in the world, it's great ... I love New York."
The world number two arrived in the Big Apple brimming with confidence after beating Williams in the final of the Cincinnati Open and was untroubled against Pfizenmaier, ranked 99th.
She hit 14 winners and made just 10 unforced errors but had to fend off three break points on her own serve.
"It was a lot closer than the score," Azarenka said. "I thought I played really well in the important moments and raised my game when I needed to."
Azarenka was just two points away from beating Williams in last year's championship match when the American drew on her all her experience to win a three-set thriller.
It was a painful loss for the fiercely competitive Belarusian but she showed she was quick learner, overcoming her disappointment and rebounding to win her second Australian Open title in January.
(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)