Azarenka wins women's tennis World No 1

Updated: 2012-01-29 05:44


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MELBOURNE -- Saturday's Lod Laver Arena saw a new World No 1 and Australian Open champion. Victoria Azarenka of Belarus outclassed Maria Sharapova from Russia in her first Australian Open singles final to lift her maiden Grand Slam title and become the new world No 1 in women's tennis.

In men's doubles final, the legend American twins Bob and Mike Bryan were defeated by the Indian-Czech duo Leander Paes and Radek Stepanek.

Azarenka, 22, overcame early jitters to win the battle of the scream queens 6-3, 6-0 in only 82 minutes. The third seed, who had never entered the final of any Grand Slam tournament in her career before, also took over the word No 1 spot, which was vacated by Dane Caroline Wozniacki after her quarterfinal exit.

Azarenka dropped her opening service game and was down 2-0 after a nervous start. However, three errors from Sharapova, a three-time major winner and the 2008 Australian Open champion, gifted Azarenka the break back for 2-2.

The eighth game was crucial for the Russian, but another two double-faults allowed Azarenka to successfully serve for the set at 5-3.

Azarenka then reeled off nine games straight to take the first set and then the title.

She became the third woman to earn the No 1 spot after winning her first Grand Slam title. Azarenka reached the semifinals of Wimbledon last year, which was the first time she survived the last eight of a major.

Sharapova also got the chance to be world No 1 if she won today. But the fourth seed had no answer to Azarenka's brilliant baseline firepower.

Record also is rewritten in men's doubles event. The Bryans' winning streak of taking three Australian Open titles were snapped by Paes and Stepanek. The Indian-Czech duo won straight sets to win the one hour 24 minutes match, with a 7-6(1), 6-2 victory.

The Americans' dream to break the all-time record for Grand Slam doubles titles dashed. The top seeds, having been ranked world No 1 for nearly 280 weeks, are just one win away from the their 12th Grand Slam record.

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