|Victoria Azarenka speaks to the media at the Rogers Cup in Montreal, Que., Aug. 7, 2012. (ROBERT LABERGE/Getty Images/AFP)
MONTREAL - World No. 1 Victoria Azarenka has at least one good reason to rejoice at the Rogers Cup: Serena Williams isn't there.
Williams, after all, is the one who beat the Belarusian in the semifinals of the Olympic tournament and made it look easy.
"She was downright unbeatable in London," Azarenka said, referring to her 6-1, 6-2 loss to the American who went on to win the gold medal against Russian Maria Sharapova.
"Her game was absolutely fantastic. It was difficult to play against her."
But Azarenka didn't leave the British capital empty-handed.
In addition to collecting a bronze medal against Russia's Maria Kirilenko, she added a gold in mixed doubles with fellow Belarusian Max Mirnyi.
It was an eventful week and Azarenka said Tuesday the Olympics would leave a lasting impression.
"It was something special for me," she said. "There was a lot of emotion, we'll have to see what impact it might have when we get back into the tour routine.
"The goal is to be as energetic as possible, although there is always a danger of losing some intensity."
After enjoying a first-round bye, Azarenka will open play at the Rogers Cup against Austrian Tamira Paszek, ranked 43rd in the world, who won easily against Julia Goerges of Germany, 6-2, 6-1, on Tuesday afternoon.
Azarenka's road to a title won't be easy given that 12 of the world's top players are in Montreal.
Possible round-of-16 opponent is Czech native Petra Kvitova, ranked sixth in the world.
Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, another top 10 player, could face Azarenka in the quarterfinals.
The Belarusian might also have to face Sharapova in the semifinals. The Olympic silver medallist form Russia is no Serena Williams, but she's still no pushover.