Azarenka preaches patience after battling through in Silicon Valley

A clash with Garbine Muguruza awaits Victoria Azarenka after the latter got the better of Kateryna Bondarenko on Monday.

Victoria Azarenka during her clash with Kateryna Bondarenko   -  Getty Images

Victoria Azarenka is determined to remain patient in her search for improved form after battling into round two of the WTA Silicon Valley Classic.

A two-time Australian Open champion and former world number one, Azarenka has endured a prolonged spell away from the court due to a protracted custody battle.

On Monday, in her first outing since Wimbledon, she overcame fellow mother Kateryna Bondarenko in a gruelling three-setter, eventually prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 7-5 in two hours and 40 minutes.

In an on-court interview following her win, the 29-year-old said: "It's a really challenging time for me and my game right now. You can see with my game, there's a lot of ups and downs. The important thing is that I'm here, I'm fighting hard, and I try to do my best. That's all I can ask of myself, but it's not easy.

"Everyone expects to have results right away - I do too - but I need to be patient, and keep working hard."

Azarenka will be an underdog in her second-round tie against top seed Garbine Muguruza.

Monday's final match saw American teenager Ashley Kratzer survive a late wobble to overcome Alison Riske. Kratzer triumphed 7-5 in the third having led 5-1 only to be pegged back to 5-5.

There were wins in straight sets for Maria Sakkari, Sofia Kenin, Ajla Tomljanovic and Danielle Collins, while Serena Williams is among those in action on Tuesday.

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