Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Azarenka ends time at the top on a high

Victoria Azarenka is overcome with emotion after defeating Serena Williams at the final of the Qatar Open.

Story highlights

  • Victoria Azarenka saw off Serena Williams 7-6 2-6 6-3 to win the Qatar Open
  • Williams will replace Azarenka as the new World No.1 Monday
  • Williams, 31, is the oldest women to hold top spot in the history of women's tennis
  • Azarenka has successfully defended both Australian Open and Qatar Open titles

Victoria Azarenka might be giving up her spot as World No.1 but the Belarusian showed successor Serena Williams that she's ready to fight to get it back.

Azarenka avenged the loss of top spot to Williams by defeating the U.S. star 7-6 2-6 6-3 in the final of the Qatar Open in Doha Sunday.

Williams, 31, will become the oldest woman to ever hold the No.1 ranking in the history of the game when she takes over Monday.

But she failed to follow up her impressive semifinal win over Maria Sharapova following an error strewn performance.

Instead, Azarenka, who successfully defended her Australian Open title last month, ended a nine-match losing streak against Williams to record just her second win in 13 attempts over her opponent.

Williams eyes Azarenka final

      Just Watched

      How do you beat Serena Williams?

    How do you beat Serena Williams? 01:19
    PLAY VIDEO

      Just Watched

      Djokovic: 'My dreams came true'

    Djokovic: 'My dreams came true' 00:43
    PLAY VIDEO

      Just Watched

      Sloane Stephens: The new talk of tennis

    Sloane Stephens: The new talk of tennis 04:23
    PLAY VIDEO

    Leading 5-2 in the first set, the outgoing World No.1 allowed Williams back into the game with the American racing into a 6-5 lead.

    Williams had set point but failed to take advantage and Azarenka ensured her opponent paid the penalty by taking the opener on a tie-break.

    Williams hit back in the second, taking it 6-2, but she was unable to sustain her form and faltered in the third and decisive set.

    "I can't say that I'm depressed like I am whenever I lose.," Williams told reporters. "I'm definitely not happy, but I'm number one."

    "It was such a long journey, and after winning Wimbledon and the US Open and the (season-ending) Championships, I thought, I just don't think I can win anymore. I don't know what it takes to be number one.

    "It was a good match overall. Victoria played really well, and did a great job."

    Serena back on top of the world

    Azarenka believes that her recovery from losing a one-sided second set was key to her success.

    She told reporters: "I just wanted to fight and give it my best, and give myself every opportunity.

    "I started at love-30 down and it was 'you have to keep it together and pull it around'. Serena was on a roll.

    "I knew she would bring her A game, and I was really glad I could stay tough and focused."

    Azarenka, who went 26-0 before losing at the quarterfinals in Miami last year, is now 14-0 in 2013.

        Tennis

      • Rafael Nadal of Spain watches the ball in his match against Martin Klizan of Slovakia during during day seven of the China Open at the National Tennis Center on October 3, 2014 in Beijing, China.

        Rafael Nadal's body might be giving him a few problems, but his mind remains as strong as ever. Will the Spaniard add to his haul of 14 grand slam titles?
      • LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 17: Wimbledon champion Andy Murray and his long time girlfriend Kim Sears arrive at Buckingham Palace on October 17, in London, England. Murray will become an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) and receive his medal from the Duke of Cambridge. (Photo by John Stillwell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

        The Scot has served up a few changes to his support team in 2014 but there's one person who isn't going anywhere -- his new fiancée Kim Sears.
      • Despite being forced to retire at the age of 24 due to health problems, Lacoste remained in the game and went on start the "Lacoste" brand in 1933, which specialised in tennis products. The inspiration for the company's logo came from his nickname as a player, "le crocodile."

        His distinctive crocodile logo is seen on clothing all over the world, but Rene Lacoste also left a lasting legacy in the development of tennis.
      • Serena Williams of the US holds the US Open trophy after defeating Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark during their US Open 2014 women's singles finals match at the USTA Billie Jean King National Center September 7, 2014 in New York. AFP PHOTO/Stan HONDA (Photo credit should read STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images)

        Serena Williams is without peer in the modern women's game and now she is on a par with two American tennis legends from the past.
      • American tennis player and golfer Althea Gibson (right) receives a kiss from compatriot Darlene Hard, whom she beat in two sets to become the first black woman to win the Women's Singles Finals at Wimbledon.

        Over the course of her remarkable life, Althea Gibson was many things to many people -- but it was tennis where she really left her mark.
      • "I didn't cry once when I practiced in front of the mirror," says Martin Emmrich. But the nerves kicked in when he got down on one knee on court.
      • LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - JULY 03: Tennis / Frauen: Wimbledon 2004, London; Finale; Siegerin Maria SHARAPOVA / RUS 03.07.04. (Photo by Bongarts/Bongarts/Getty Images)

        It's 10 years since a teenage Maria Sharapova became the darling of Wimbledon's hallowed Center Court, launching herself as a star.
      • Five-time grand slam champion Martina Hingis has followed her mom into a coaching role, setting up a new tennis academy in Barcelona, Spain.