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Azarenka wins first Grand Slam title and No.1 ranking, big day for Belarus

Victoria Azarenka blew three-time Grand Slam champion Maria Sharapova off the Rod Laver Arena 6-3 6-0 to win her maiden major, obtain the No.1 position in the WTA rankings, overtaking Caroline Wozniacki who's reigned the spot pretty much for two years, and become the first Belarusian Grand Slam titlists and No.1 player in singles.

Playing her first Grand Slam final, the third-seeded Azarenka started nervously by dropping serve in the first game of the match and finding herself 0-2 0-30 down. But from then on, she started playing aggressively, moving Sharapova around and neutralizing her power. From 3-3 in the first set, the match belonged only to Azarenka. 

If you look at the stats, Azarenka was drastically better than her fourth-seeded opponent in too many departments:

  • Azarenka committed 12 unforced errors to Sharapova's 30
  • Azarenka won 53% on second serve, compared to Sharapova's 18%
  • Azarenka had 60% of receiving points won, while Sharapova won only 37%
  • Azarenka converted 71% of break points, Sharapova only 25%
  • Azarenka won 88% of net approaches, Sharapova more than twice less, 43%
If you check out our preview of the final you can compare how they fared coming into the match and what each of them had to win or lose.
Notice how Azarenka won her matches this fortnight, overall she lost very few games. In the first round she defeated Heather Watson 6-1 6-0, in the second Casey Dellacqua also 6-1 6-0, in the third Mona Barthel 6-2 6-4, in the fourth Iveta Benesova 6-2 6-2, in the quarterfinals Agnieszka Radwanska 6-7(0) 6-0 6-2, in the semis defending champion Kim Clijsters 6-4 1-6 6-3 and in the final against former champion she lost just three games.

Being the 2005 Australian Open junior champion and now winning the trophy as a pro, Azarenka has become the third woman in history to win the tournament both as a junior and as a senior.

Winning Sydney and the Australian Open this season, the 22-year-old has remained undefeated in 2012.

What do you think of Azarenka's victory? Are you surprised by the score in the final?

About the ranking, are you glad to see a new face on the top? Note that Caroline Wozniacki will fall from No.1 to No.4! :P (photos: © Neal Trousdale)

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11 thoughts on “Azarenka wins first Grand Slam title and No.1 ranking, big day for Belarus

  1. Patricia

    Yeeeeeeah! Vika is one of my favs since Istanbul and now she is the new number one!

    She played such a good tennis! Well, let's forget the first ten minutes of the match. But after that she was too good for Maria. Maria seemed to be very upset. Some kind of frightened. And after the match it looked as if she would cry.

    I liked the Aussie-Open-final very much and I am glad to see one of my favs on the top! ;D

  2. James

    A terrific win for Vika :)

    She played a fantastic final after an edgy start and was able to live with Sharapova from the baseline and get her on the run forcing all the errors from the Russian.

    It is great to see the younger players such as Azarenka and Kvitova finally making their breakthrough on the big stage and I think they are ready now to take over the reigns from the likes of Clijsters, Venus and Serena… I think this will be a good year for the WTA and cannot wait for the rest of 2012!

  3. Marine

    Great win from Azarenka although I was surprised at a lack of a fight from Sharapova. This season will undoubtedly be very interesting.

  4. Mirjana

    I was cheering for Masha, but i'm not very suprised she lost, Victoria was just better. We'll see how the rest of the season goes, this year AO was pretty interesting, there were some great matches. :)

  5. JohnnyB

    Your AO preview article had 4 players as possiblities to win the open, but did not include Azarenka. She will be #1 at year end 2012 and Sharapova #2.

    John Bolan on January 16th, 2012
    Victoria Azarenka should be the obvious favorite for not only the AO but for the #1 ranking in 2012. This time she will win the AO as she should have 3 years ago when she had Serena beaten before fainting on the court.

  6. Mad Professah

    Great win by Victoria…

    I was shocked at how badly Maria played, she was not the same player who defeated Kvitova. Maybe revenge for the 2011 Wimbledon final was a motivating factor?

    That's taking nothing away from Vika, she still showed that she's a better athlete than Maria, and is surprisingly mentally tough.

    Who do you think will end up with more majors: Vika, Li Na, Kvitova or Masha???

    (My vote would be for Kvitova)

  7. Karunya

    I've been following Vika's career more closely ever since you gave me her autographed photo in 2010. Great win for her! Now, I don't have explain to my friends who are not tennis fans who that "pretty girl" in the photo is. But absolutely SHOCKING performance by Sharapova.

  8. Angelina

    I only watch tennis because of Maria…what a horrible lose. I was speechless after that. Congrats to Vica.

  9. Marija Post author

    Mad Professah, tough question. Hm, I would also pick Kvitova.

    Karunya, it's nice to hear that :)

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