Azarenka topples Serena to win in Doha

Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:00am IST

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus holds her trophy after defeating Serena Williams of the U.S. during the final match at the Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha February 17, 2013. REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus holds her trophy after defeating Serena Williams of the U.S. during the final match at the Qatar Open tennis tournament in Doha February 17, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Fadi Al-Assaad

REUTERS - Outgoing world number one Victoria Azarenka showed that being second best was not an option for her as she outclassed Serena Williams 7-6 2-6 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Sunday.

Williams will replace Azarenka on top of the WTA rankings when the new list is released on Monday but the American's hopes of capping off a memorable week with a 48th singles title were dashed by an opponent who extended her 2013 record to 12-0.

Williams's game sparkled as brightly as the diamond ring on her playing right hand during the second set but it was Australian Open champion Azarenka who was running rings around her in the third.

The Belarussian leapt to a 3-0 lead and never relinquished that advantage, polishing off Williams with an unreturnable serve in just under 2-1/2 hours.

In case anyone in the crowd had forgotten that she had entered the tournament as top dog in the world rankings, Azarenka celebrated winning her second successive Qatar title by holding both arms aloft and wagging her index fingers towards the night sky of Doha.

"It's amazing to have achieved what I have achieved," the Belarussian said in a courtside interview.

"I just wanted to fight and give myself every opportunity to get back. I told myself 'you have to keep it together, you have to do something otherwise Serena's on a roll and she's going to bring her A-game'.

"I had to really step up my game and I'm glad that I could turn it around, stay tough and focussed."

Williams had entered the match on a high after reclaiming the top ranking for the sixth time and beating rival Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals.

Two days after becoming the oldest woman to claim the world number one accolade, it seemed the efforts of the week finally caught up with her 31-year-old limbs.

The player who has a reputation of blowing away opponents was in danger of suffering the same fate herself in the third set.

She hung in to save one match point on her serve at 5-2 down, thanks to a serve that was incorrectly called in, but Azarenka was not about to let her off the hook.

The American saved another match point on Azarenka's serve with a thumping backhand service return but it was the Belarussian who was soon thumping her chest and blowing kisses to the crowd.

(Writing by Pritha Sarkar in London, editing by Ed Osmond)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

COMMONWEALTH GAMES

SPORTS SHOWCASE

Not Guilty

Not Guilty

Anderson and Jadeja found not guilty by ICC.  Full Article 

PGA Tour

PGA Tour

Woods, Mickelson, Harrington grouped at PGA Championship.  Full Article 

Garcia Leads

Garcia Leads

Golf - Garcia ties course record 61 for WGC lead in Akron.  Full Article 

Boss is Watching

Boss is Watching

No escaping Van Gaal's gaze for Man United squad.  Full Article 

Extreme Race

Extreme Race

Mountain bikers eye $1 million in 'toughest race on earth'.  Full Article 

Shock Win

Shock Win

Amos wins 800 gold to shock Olympic champion Rudisha.  Full Article 

New Role

New Role

Van Nistelrooy named as Dutch assistant coach.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage