|Victory gives Azarenka, left, a six-nil head-to-head record over US Open champion Stosur, second right [EPA]|
Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus shook off a lingering ankle injury to win the Qatar Open on Sunday, routing Sam Stosur of Australia 6-1, 6-2.
This was Azarenka’s 17th straight victory and her first title since replacing Caroline Wozniacki as No. 1 after winning the Australian Open.
Azarenka showed no ill effects after twisting her right ankle in the semi-final against Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.
She broke the fifth-ranked Stosur twice to lead 4-1 in the first set, making a brief trip to the net to clinch it with a backhand volley.
Azarenka was on her way to victory after winning the first three games of the second set.
“It’s amazing. I can’t believe I could play that kind of tennis today,” Azarenka said.
“I knew I wouldn’t be 100 percent, so I had to change and adjust. I was just surprised today that everything was going in.”
Head-to head record
Azarenka improved to 6-0 against the US Open champion Stosur after having previously beaten the Australian in November at the year-ending WTA Championships.
She neutralised Stosur’s potent kick serve, resulting in her opponent winning only 50 percent of first-serve points and 48 percent on the second.
Azarenka displayed a range of shots and ran down most balls, forcing Stosur to make 25 unforced errors to only eight for the Belarusian.
Azarenka will play at the Dubai Championships next week in Doha, the place where she lost in the first round last year and said she considered quitting tennis.
After a brief trip home and counselling from her mother and grandmother, she return energized and with a more mature attitude. That resulted in her having the best season of her career, winning 55 of 72 matches to finish the year at No. 3.