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Kvitova, Azarenka on the rise after Madrid

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Originally published on: 10/05/11 10:11

Petra Kvitova cracked the top 10 this week after beating three players from the elite bunch – including Victoria Azarenka – to take the Mutua Madrid Open crown.

The 21-year-old Czech leapt from No.18 to No.10 after a title-winning run that saw her take out Vera Zvonareva, Na Li and the in-form Victoria Azarenka on clay in the Spanish capital.

And the six-foot left-hander is expected to rise further still in the coming weeks, with plenty of points up for grabs at Roland Garros. Kvitova reached the fourth round at the Paris Grand Slam in 2008, but lost in the first round last year and is expected to go deep into the tournament this year – if not contend the title after her display in Madrid.

Certainly for Kvitova, the sky is the limit after muscling her way into the top 10 following her Madrid triumph. “[The ranking] is just a number and I want to improve my game – I don’t just want to be Top 10, I want to keep getting better and better,” she said.

Azarenka, meanwhile, also rose to a career-high ranking after her performance in Madrid. The 21-year-old, who picked up titles in Miami and Marbella earlier in the season, became the highest ranked Belarusian in WTA history after climbing to No.4 in the world.

“It’s a great feeling to be part of history for your country,” said Azarenka. “We have so many schools in Belarus where kids are getting involved with tennis and it’s huge for me that I’m one of the people they’re looking up to. I hope to keep going the same way.”

Azarenka, who made up for her singles disappointment by winning her second Premier-level doubles title alongside Maria Kirilenko in Madrid, could also edge closer to pal Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the singles tree in the not too distant future.

She, too, lost in the first round at Roland Garros last year and is expected to pick up plenty of points based on her recent form.

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