Azarenka's Momentum Builds In Luxembourg
Published October 23, 2011 12:00
LUXEMBOURG, Luxembourg - It had been a while since her last title, in fact it had been a while since her last final - but Victoria Azarenka got back in the winner's circle in Luxembourg on Sunday, rolling past first-time WTA finalist Monica Niculescu to win the BGL BNP Paribas Luxembourg Open.
Seeded No.1, Azarenka cruised through to the final without losing a set - but how would she hold up against the crafty Niculescu, who followed up her first Premier-level semifinal in Beijing two weeks ago with this, her first WTA final?
As it turns out, she had few problems. Azarenka's game was hardly bothered by Niculescu's mix of spins, angles and trajectories; she wrapped up a one-hour, 14-minute, 62 62 win with a fast finish, taking the last eight points in a row.
"Monica has a unique game, a really different style," Azarenka said. "You really have to dig deep and be patient against her, but you also have to be aggressive. If you stand there and just dig the balls back, she can beat you. So I just tried to stay aggressive and fight for every point and I'm happy how it turned out."
Azarenka won her third WTA title of the year and the eighth of her career; it was her first title since Marbella in April, and her first final since Madrid in May.
"I'm very pleased to win another title," Azarenka said. "I was improving from match to match. I came here to get matches before Istanbul and of course win the tournament - everywhere I enter, I try to be the best. Everywhere I play I give all my heart and fight for every ball and I'm glad I came through this week."
Azarenka also had some very kind words about the tournament. "I really enjoyed my time here. It's a great tournament, and I think a lot of tournaments should take Luxembourg into consideration as an example."
Azarenka now goes to the TEB BNP Paribas WTA Championships in Istanbul.
Niculescu had scored her first Top 10 win over Li Na two weeks ago in Beijing, but seemed far from repeating the feat against the No.3-ranked Azarenka.
"I was surprised a little bit that I reached my first final indoors! But I'm very happy I could end the season like this," Niculescu said. "Azarenka is just an unbelievable player. I tried my best today and only won four games. But it was a good week. I'm really amazed at the progress I made here. I watched each of my matches on CDs and I improved a lot. I'm really excited about next year."
No.1 seeds Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova won the doubles title, defeating No.2 seeds Lucie Hradecka and Ekaterina Makarova, 75 63. They now have four WTA doubles titles this year together, nine overall.