MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) Defending champion Victoria Azarenka struggled to hold off injured American Jamie Hampton 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 on Saturday before advancing to the fourth round of the Australian Open.
Hampton, who needed a medical timeout for a lower back problem before she served out the second set and winced in pain, frequently on the verge of tears, throughout the third, still managed to hit 41 winners.
Top-ranked Azarenka appeared frustrated at times but overcame an early break and fended off triple break point in the seventh game of the deciding set.
She said Hampton ``played incredible,'' adding, ``She took a medical timeout but she rips winners all over the place and I was like, `Can I have a back problem?' I'm feeling great, but I'm missing every shot.''