Swiss takes Australian Open crown with three set victory over Andy Murray.
|Venus adds another title to her collection of 42 singles victories [GALLO/GETTY]|
Venus Williams won the Dubai Championships for the second consecutive year defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in straight sets.
The five-time Wimbledon champion beat Azarenka 6-3 7-5 to secure her 42nd singles title, putting her one ahead of Justine Henin at the top of the list of active players.
After Saturday’s match Venus was asked if she now hoped to add to her tally of Grand Slam titles, to which she replied: “Absolutely. I am so happy to have added to my collection here. And I am keen to keep adding every time.”
The final was competitive from start to finish, with just one break deciding the first set and three match points needed in the second.
Fourth seed Azarenka, who was chasing just her fourth career title, rallied well with Williams but could not match her serving power or the strength of her groundstrokes.
The opening set was effectively decided on a double-fault at 3-2 after Williams had forced a backhand error to set up break point.
Azarenka’s second serve was called in but Williams appealed and the Hawkeye line-calling system showed a fault.
Williams had difficulty serving out the set at 5-3, hitting two double-faults and then facing a break point which she saved with a forehand pass.
The American then broke to lead 1-0 in the second set when Azarenka netted a backhand.
A forehand error allowed the Belarussian to level at 3-3 and the set seemed destined for a tiebreak until another forehand pass gave Williams a decisive break for 6-5.
The final point was one of the best of the match, as each ran the other around in a rally before Azarenka strained to hit a forehand that failed to clear the net.
In her post-game interview, Venus made reference to the diplomatic success of a tournament which accommodated the first Israeli woman, Shahar Peer, ever to compete in the United Arab Emirates.
“It was a great tournament to have everyone included,” she said.
Later she added: “Obviously we had issues with everyone getting included,” referring to the refusal of Peer’s UAE visa in 2009.
“But this year it was great to show a spirit of inclusion and equality.”
Venus went on: “I definitely think her playing has an influence on things outside the tennis. We need government to do the right thing like they did here and people of courage to come here and play, to play so well with focus.”