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Azarenka loses on comeback from injury

ESPN staff
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Victoria Azarenka, playing her first match in more than three months, lost 4-6 6-3 7-5 to Camila Giorgi © Getty Images
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Victoria Azarenka tasted defeat in her first match for more than three months, going down in three sets to Camila Giorgi in the first round at Eastbourne on Tuesday.

Azarenka, the former world No.1, made her comeback from a left foot injury but lost 4-6 6-3 7-5 in two hours and 46 minutes.

"That's exactly what I wanted," Azarenka said. "I wanted to have a competitive match. I wanted to test myself, to play for a long time, see how my body is going to react.

"I'm pretty pleased with what happened. Obviously the result is the result, but that's a beginning. It's a starting point. There are a lot of positive things that I can take from what happened today."

Giorgi demonstrated her ability on grass by reaching the fourth round at Wimbledon as a qualifier in 2012 and she was a third-round finisher last year.

Azarenka won the first set from 4-2 down. Giorgi took a 5-0 lead in the second, saving five break points at 4-0. In the final set, Giorgi failed to serve out the match at 5-4, but broke again at 6-5 when Azarenka netted a backhand, and closed out the match at her second opportunity.

Despite her defeat, Azarenka believed she was almost ready to compete again at the highest level.

"I was really happy that I was there for every single moment, for every single ball," she said. "I felt that my level of concentration was really high. I just have to get into that rhythm."

Giorgi next faces Britain's Johanna Konta after she beat Belina Bencic 6-3 6-2.

Heather Watson produced a stirring comeback to beat Tsvetana Pironkova 3-6 7-5 6-2 and advance to the second round.

In other matches, former champion Ekaterina Makarova defeated Italian qualifier Francesca Schiavone 7-5 6-3, and seventh seed Sara Errani was beaten 7-6(5) 6-2 by American qualifier Lauren Davis.

Sixth seed Flavia Pennetta, Daniela Hantuchova and Varvara Lepchenko also progressed.

On the men's side, Santiago Giraldo was beaten 6-3 6-7(5) 6-3 by Jarkko Nieminen.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd

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