Azarenka storms to Indian Wells title

Sun, 18 Mar 19:46:00 2012

Victoria Azarenka claimed her first WTA Indian Wells title with a dominant 6-2 6-3 win over Maria Sharapova.

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The world number one continued her stunning form in 2012 with her 23rd victory in a row. The Belarusian goes into next week's tournament in Miami as the defending champion and in the form of her life.

World number two Sharapova tried everything she could against the recently-crowned Australian Open champion, but she was unable to get anywhere near reclaiming the title she won in 2006.

"I was just trying to do my best because I know Maria is a fighter," Azarenka said in a courtside interview. "I always tried to stay focused and apply as much pressure as I can.

"I never dreamed about that," she added of her perfect start to the season.

"It's amazing and I'm just so glad that I have been able to be consistent and disciplined and professional every day."

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Azarenka won the toss but made Sharapova serve first. The move paid off as she earned three break points in the opening game, converting the third of them.

Sharapova's game plan was to try and beat Azarenka with her superior power, but her 22-year-old opponent was at her gritty, resilient best and resisted all that the Russian could throw at her.

Sharapova's strategy meant she ran the risk of more unforced errors – 16 in all in the first set – and two such mistakes in the seventh game cost her another break of serve, allowing Azarenka to close out the set and win it having only dropped four points on her serve.

The second set began in the same way as the first, with Sharapova being broken once more.

This time, however, the Russian fought back more effectively, and the match went four games without either player holding serve.

The final break was for Azarenka, and once she was 4-2 up she never looked back, winning a thrilling rally on the final point of the ninth game to claim her fourth title of the year.

Tony Mabert @tony_mabert / Eurosport

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