Watson stuns Safarova to set up Azarenka rematch
Heather Watson set up a third-round showdown with world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka following a straight sets win over Lucie Safarova at the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami.
The British wildcard, who stormed back from 5-0 down in the final set to win her opening match against Sorana Cirstea, continued her stunning run at Crandon Park, claiming the scalp of the world No. 25 with a hugely impressive 6-2 6-1 victory.
The win marked Watson's first victory over a top 25 player, and she showed remarkable poise to keep her cool in the Miami heat. After clinching the opening set, Watson dropped her opening service game, but showed impressive strength of character to break straight back, winning six games on the bounce to claim arguably the biggest victory of her career.
She will now have the chance to test her skills against the world's best player - Azarenka is chasing a fifth straight title after an unbeaten start to 2012. Azarenka and Watson met in Melbourne earlier this year, where the Belarusian demolished her opponent 6-1 6-0.
However, the top seed did not have things all her own way in her second-round win over Michaella Krajicek. Krajicek served for the second set after grabbing a late break, but Azarenka held her nerve to claim a 6-3 7-5 victory and extend her unbeaten streak to 24 matches.
Former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic continued her return to form with a straight sets win over home favourite Vania King. Ivanovic, who is set to overtake Jelena Jankovic to become Serbian No. 1 for the first time since 2008, booked her place in the third round with a 6-4 7-5 victory.
However, ninth seed Vera Zvonareva was sent crashing out by Spanish world No. 208 Garbine Muguruza Blanco who claimed the scalp of the Russian with a 6-4 6-3 victory.
Alisa Kleybanova's first tournament back after recovering from cancer came to an end at the hands of fellow Russian Maria Kirilenko. Kleybanova, who announced in July last year she was battling Hodgkin's lymphoma, won her opening match against Johanna Larsson, but was unable to repeat the heroics against Kirilenko, who progressed with a 7-6(1) 6-3 win.