Women's tennis has a new Grand Slam champion and a new No. 1 player in the world.
Victoria Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 in Saturday night's Australian Open final to win her first Grand Slam title. The emphatic victory vaults Azarenka to the No. 1 ranking, replacing Caroline Wozniacki.
Sharapova got off to a quick start in the match, going up 2-0 in the first set and 30-0 on Azarenka's serve in the third game. The Belarusian then rattled off 10 straight points and cruised to a first-set victory.
The second set was even easier. With Sharapova's serve giving her the usual troubles, Azarenka capitalized. It wasn't the double faults that did in Sharapova, it was her fear of them. A lack of confidence on her second serve led to her losing 14 of those 17 points. Azarenka broke in every service game of the second set, handing Sharapova a 6-0 bagel.
It was one of the most dominating performances in a Grand Slam final in recent years.
Azarenka fell to the baseline when Sharapova netted a shot on match point. "What happened?" she yelled to her player's box. "It's crazy."
Unlike other first-time finalists, Azarenka never showed nerves being on the sport's biggest stage. Her brashness and confidence served her well, even as she struggled early. The 22-year-old responded to questionable calls with a sarcastic smile and she danced in the service box before the start of the second set.
Sharapova knew she was bested.
"As in any sport you have your good days, you have your tough days and you have your days where things don't work out," Sharapova said to the crowd after the match. "Today, Victoria was better on so many levels and played too good."
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