The momentum swung from either end of the court since the start of the match. Azarenka needed an hour to take the lead by winning the opening set tie break 7-6(8-6).
The two women moved well and produced quality shots at different angles on the court. Williams led by an early break of serve in the second set. Then, a lengthy 5th game in the set (lasting 10 mins 54 seconds) only continued to highlight the dip on Azarenka"s first serve. The Williams forehand played an impressive role in getting Azarenka out of her comfort zone as she found herself having to play defensively for the better parts of the set. Williams leveled the match after winning the second set convincingly by 6 games to 2.
In the third decisive set, a determined Azarenka defended an early break of serve until the latter stages of the set while her opponent made costly errors. Interestingly, a backhand error from the racket of Williams gave Azarenka her first match point when the American served at 2-5. Azarenka retained her title when she won 7-6(8-6) 2-6 6-3, beating Williams for only the second time in her career.
How to play from the baseline
The expression “to endure the rally” is about those indeterminate moments of a rally where none of the players is leading.
The ability to endure the rally is fundamental when you play a “long rally”, because it offers you the chance to measure your opponent’s strong points and vulnerabilities, besides letting you position as best as possible for your next offensive shot.