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On-Fire Azarenka Wins Brisbane

Victoria Azarenka stormed past Angelique Kerber to win the 18th WTA title of her career - and first WTA title in almost two and a half years - at the Brisbane International.

Published January 09, 2016 12:15

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BRISBANE, Australia - Victoria Azarenka stormed past Angelique Kerber to win the 18th WTA title of her career - and first WTA title in almost two and a half years - at the Brisbane International.

Azarenka had been on fire all week - she lost a total of just 13 games in her four matches leading up to the final - and she maintained that form against the No.4-seeded Kerber on Saturday night, facing some early resistance but taking complete control from 3-all in the first set to win, 6-3, 6-1.

The match numbers told the story - Azarenka finished with a +14 differential of winners to unforced errors, 23 to 9, while Kerber was a slightly negative -2 on winners to unforced errors, 25 to 27.

The Belarusian also improved to 6-0 lifetime against Kerber and to 60-59 against Top 10 players.

Kerber was the first to take the microphone during the trophy presentation after the match.

"I would like to say congratulations to Vika - you had an amazing week and you're always a tough opponent," the World No.10 said. "I was hoping to win one time against you. I think I'm now 0-6 against you! But hopefully we'll play many more times, and next time you'll give me a chance to win!"

Azarenka gave the props right back. "Congratulations to Angelique and thank you for pushing me - you always push my limits. I hope we get to play more matches soon and good luck the rest of the year."

The former World No.1 had some particularly powerful words for the fans, too. "Every time I play in front of this crowd I couldn't be happier," she said. "My dreams come true whenever I step on the court, and I want to thank you all for showing up, motivating us so much and inspiring us so much."

Her 2014 and 2015 seasons ravaged by various injuries, Azarenka - who finished 2012 at No.1 and 2013 at No.2 behind Serena Williams - is already looking back to her best in 2016. This is her first WTA title since Cincinnati all the way back in August 2013, where she defeated Williams in the final.

And even more daunting for her rivals going into the Australian Open? Azarenka - a two-time champion in Melbourne - has now won 35 of her last 39 matches in Australia, a stretch dating back to 2012.

Can the Belarusian make it three at Melbourne Park this year? Stay tuned on wtatennis.com...

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