Vika Victorious In Stanford
Published August 01, 2010 12:00
STANFORD, CA, USA - Victoria Azarenka capped a brilliant birthday weekend in Stanford on Sunday afternoon, beating Maria Sharapova for her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the year - and the fourth of her career.
Azarenka, the No.8 seed at the Premier-level tournament, was in deep trouble in the quarterfinals two days ago, facing a 63 31 deficit against No.4 seed and defending champion Marion Bartoli. But she made it out of that one, 36 63 63, then cruised from there, routing No.1 seed Samantha Stosur in the semifinals, 62 63, then cruising past No.5 seed Sharapova in the final, 64 61.
After claiming a 59-minute first set, Azarenka, who turned 21 on Saturday, rolled through the second in just 28 minutes, which included breaking Sharapova three of four times and winning the last 15 points of the match.
"Once she's on a roll, it's really hard to keep up. So I just tried to stay with her from the beginning and stay aggressive," Azarenka said. "In my last two matches against her, I had my chances but did not take them. That was one of the important things, I didn't let her get back into the games in the second set.
"I knew I had to fight every single ball with her."
Azarenka added the Stanford crown to previous titles at Brisbane, Memphis and Miami, all of which came in 2009. Miami was also a Premier-level title.
Sharapova was trying to become the first player to win three titles on the Tour this year, having triumphed at Memphis and Strasbourg. She had also won her last two meetings with Azarenka, though both were tough three-setters.
"I went up 4-3 then played a really sloppy game, then she really stepped it up and took advantage of it," Sharapova said. "She's always tough to play against. She's had a lot of big wins in her career already and she's one of the most consistent, hard-hitting players out there. I'll take the positives out of the week, go to the next tournaments and keep working towards the Open."