From Belarus with love: Azarenka takes the spoils
Victoria Azarenka stormed to an excellent victory over Maria Sharapova to register her first grand slam win. Playing hard and extremely well, Azarenka defeated Sharapova in under 90 minutes. Her stunning 6-3 6-0 victory catapults her to the peak of women’s tennis – superseding Caroline Wozniacki, the Belarusian has shot to number one in the world rankings after a mercurial rise to prominence. And, judging by her exploits in Australia, her success at the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and her latest imperious display, she might be there to stay.
The young Belarusian began nervously in a frenetic opening exchange that was filled with errors and punctuated by mistakes. After going behind 0-2, the outlook certainly wasn’t positive, but, displaying a fighting spirit belying her 22 years, Azarenka sprung back to take control of the affair, seemingly taking the experienced Sharapova by surprise. Slowly easing into the game and the occasion, Azarenka gradually grew in confidence and began to poke holes in Sharapova’s tactics.
Azarenka took full advantage of her versatility, displaying a wide array of shots and skill sets to unnerve the Russian, who seemed satisfied to exchange groundstrokes. Azarenka continued to grow into her dominating performance, overpowering, outplaying and outmanoeuvring her opponent. The day might have started off rather dauntingly for the young buck, but Australia, surely, will now always be dear to Azarenka: Belarus’ own world number one.