Melbourne - Victoria Azarenka won her first
grand slam title and became the new world number one when she thrashed a
disappointing Maria Sharapova in the Australian Open final on Saturday.
third-seeded Belarusian overpowered Sharapova to win 6-3, 6-0 in 82
minutes to lift the trophy and become women's tennis's fourth first-time
grand slam winner in a row.
Azarenka came from 0-2 down in the
first set to win 12 of the next 13 games for a comprehensive victory as
Sharapova's game disintegrated in the face of all-out aggression from
Sharapova made 30 unforced errors, while Azarenka played almost flawlessly at times with only 12 errors across the two sets.
won the toss and chose to serve, but she started nervously and dished
up two double faults on her way to dropping the first game.
consolidated to open a 2-0 lead and got to 0-30 on Azarenka's next
game, but the Belarusian seemed to shake off her nerves and began to
slowly take control.
She stepped up to the baseline and took the
ball early, pressuring Sharapova into mistakes. Soon Azarenka was
dominating in all departments, matching the Russian's power from the
baseline and volleying confidently.
The 22-year-old broke back in the fourth game and broke again in the eighth before confidently serving for the first set.
the third seed started the second set with the same self-belief,
breaking Sharapova's first serve and coming back from 15-40 to hold her
own and open a 2-0 lead.
Sharapova was becoming increasingly
frustrated and, unusually for the three-time grand slam winner, she
began to look to her coach Thomas Hogstedt in frustration.
Azarenka was in full control, however, and she broke Sharapova twice more to go to 5-0 lead.
Belarusian stepped up to serve for the championship, saving a break
point and falling to her knees in delight when a Sharapova backhand
crashed into the net.