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 7:35 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.
Rafael Nadal is still the "King of Clay" -- but his crown has slipped a bit, says CNN's Will Edmonds.
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 7:59 PM EDT, Mon May 5, 2014
British tennis player Elena Baltacha won 11 ITF Pro Circuit titles during her 16-year playing career.
The Ukrainian-born, British tennis star loses fight against liver cancer, just a few weeks after revealing that she was battling the disease.
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.
updated 8:38 AM EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Suisse's Belinda Bencic returns the ball to France's Alize Cornet during the second match of the Fed Cup first round tennis tie France vs Switzerland on February 8, 2014 at the Pierre de Coubertin stadium in Paris. AFP PHOTO / KENZO TRIBOUILLARD (Photo credit should read KENZO TRIBOUILLARD/AFP/Getty Images)
It's no easy matter becoming a world class tennis player. It's even harder when everyone (really -- everyone) is calling you the "new Martina Hingis."
updated 10:20 AM EDT, Wed April 2, 2014
At the 2009 Australian Open, French men's tennis was the talk of the town.
updated 2:00 PM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
MONTE-CARLO, MONACO - APRIL 14: Rafael Nadal of Spain sails a boat during day two of the ATP Monte Carlo Rolex Masters Tennis at Monte-Carlo Sporting Club on April 14, 2014 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Rafael Nadal may be most at home on a clay tennis court, but he has always found comfort on the sea.
updated 7:07 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014
Tennis star Venus Williams reveals how she is beating the autoimmune disease that derailed her career.
updated 5:14 AM EST, Wed March 5, 2014
After two decades dedicated to the game, Amelie Mauresmo wants a second life -- one away from tennis.
Rafael Nadal of Spain wipes his face after losing his men's final match against Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland during day 14 of the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia.
Almost five years to the day after reducing Roger Federer to tears at the Australian Open, Rafael Nadal shed a few in his own loser's speech.
ADVERTISEMENT