Beijing (China). Vika Azarenka confirms her role at the throne of the WTA rankings, after putting on a great performance to beat Russian Maria Sharapova in the final of the China Open 2012 with a 6-3, 6-1.
It is the 13th career title for the world number 1 (the fifth this year), and curiously her third won in 2012 in a final against Masha, after those in Melbourne and Indian Wells. Typical of these two, the match today (with its usual grunting) was immediately in favor of the 23 year old from Minsk, who dominated the first set from the start giving the distinct feeling of having full control of her opponent: She found herself 5-1 up after 16 minutes, but Maria did try to fight back hard in the match, recovering one of the two breaks, but was unable to break Azarenka back a further time, which saw the Belarusian take the opening set 6-3.
The second set started like the first, with the Belarusian dominating as Sharapova offered too many errors and appeared slow in her lateral movements.
Suddenly, Azarenka was 4-0, and flew through her service games. The consecutive break points in the fifth game were marred by Maria but she was able to at least avoid a 6-0 score line, which happened at the Australian Open (and in the Olympic final against Serena).
It will no doubt be a disappointment for Maria Sharapova who reached the final after great performances against Kerber and Li, but she appeared almost empty on court today at the National Tennis Center. Compared to their meeting at the semi-finals of the U.S. Open, the distance between her and Azarenka appeared to be more marked, and this may be reflected on by the beautiful Siberian. The head-to-head between the two players is 7-4 in Vika’s favour: Serena Williams aside, she seems to be the best player of the WTA at this time.