Skip to main content

Azarenka ends time at the top on a high

updated 3:09 PM EST, Sun February 17, 2013
Victoria Azarenka is overcome with emotion after defeating Serena Williams at the final of the Qatar Open.
Victoria Azarenka is overcome with emotion after defeating Serena Williams at the final of the Qatar Open.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Victoria Azarenka saw off Serena Williams 7-6 2-6 6-3 to win the Qatar Open
  • Williams will replace Azarenka as the new World No.1 Monday
  • Williams, 31, is the oldest women to hold top spot in the history of women's tennis
  • Azarenka has successfully defended both Australian Open and Qatar Open titles

(CNN) -- Victoria Azarenka might be giving up her spot as World No.1 but the Belarusian showed successor Serena Williams that she's ready to fight to get it back.

Azarenka avenged the loss of top spot to Williams by defeating the U.S. star 7-6 2-6 6-3 in the final of the Qatar Open in Doha Sunday.

Williams, 31, will become the oldest woman to ever hold the No.1 ranking in the history of the game when she takes over Monday.

But she failed to follow up her impressive semifinal win over Maria Sharapova following an error strewn performance.

Instead, Azarenka, who successfully defended her Australian Open title last month, ended a nine-match losing streak against Williams to record just her second win in 13 attempts over her opponent.

How do you beat Serena Williams?
Djokovic: 'My dreams came true'
Sloane Stephens: The new talk of tennis

Williams eyes Azarenka final

Leading 5-2 in the first set, the outgoing World No.1 allowed Williams back into the game with the American racing into a 6-5 lead.

Williams had set point but failed to take advantage and Azarenka ensured her opponent paid the penalty by taking the opener on a tie-break.

Williams hit back in the second, taking it 6-2, but she was unable to sustain her form and faltered in the third and decisive set.

"I can't say that I'm depressed like I am whenever I lose.," Williams told reporters. "I'm definitely not happy, but I'm number one."

"It was such a long journey, and after winning Wimbledon and the US Open and the (season-ending) Championships, I thought, I just don't think I can win anymore. I don't know what it takes to be number one.

"It was a good match overall. Victoria played really well, and did a great job."

Serena back on top of the world

Azarenka believes that her recovery from losing a one-sided second set was key to her success.

She told reporters: "I just wanted to fight and give it my best, and give myself every opportunity.

"I started at love-30 down and it was 'you have to keep it together and pull it around'. Serena was on a roll.

"I knew she would bring her A game, and I was really glad I could stay tough and focused."

Azarenka, who went 26-0 before losing at the quarterfinals in Miami last year, is now 14-0 in 2013.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 7:08 AM EST, Tue December 16, 2014
Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.
Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
updated 8:42 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A year that began in uncertainty for Roger Federer ended with a historic title for the 17-time grand slam champion and his country.
updated 12:16 PM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Thu September 11, 2014
French Tennis player Rene Lacoste, one of France's 'Four Musketeers' who won the Davis Cup in 1932, at Wimbledon. He is wearing his embroidered crocodile motif. Original Publication: People Disc - HH0434 (Photo by Topical Press Agency/Getty Images)
His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
updated 2:36 AM EDT, Tue September 9, 2014
Marin Cilic follows in the footsteps of his coach Goran Ivanicevic by claiming a grand slam crown for Croatia, winning the U.S. Open.
updated 9:34 AM EDT, Sun September 14, 2014
Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)
Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
updated 9:21 AM EDT, Tue September 2, 2014
American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.
Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Wed August 27, 2014
Canada and tennis? Really? Yup. The North American tennis power balance is swinging away from the States.
updated 8:52 AM EDT, Thu August 21, 2014
As a player he was as fiery as his hair -- and as Novak Djokovic's coach, Boris Becker says he has to battle to keep his emotions in check.
updated 7:02 AM EDT, Wed August 20, 2014
Tennis great Boris Becker says he was stunned by the level of criticism he received after being appointed as Novak Djokovic's coach.
updated 7:01 AM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
"I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
updated 7:35 AM EDT, Mon June 30, 2014
When Agnieszka Radwanska refused to look her opponent in the eye after losing at Wimbledon, it raised more than eyebrows.
updated 9:14 PM EDT, Sun June 22, 2014
It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
updated 3:46 AM EDT, Fri May 23, 2014
He's regularly voted France's favorite famous person, but many of the nation's youth have "no idea" about his glorious sporting past
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Tue April 29, 2014
Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.
ADVERTISEMENT