This time Vika closed the show. Last year in the 2012 US Open Women’s Singles Final, Victoria Azarenka battled Serena Williams to 5-3 in the 3rd and final set. With the championship on her racquet, Vika served for the title. She couldn’t hold serve. Not only that, she didn’t win another game as Serena reeled off 4 straight games to defeat Azarenka 7-5 in the 3rd. We’ve been waiting for Vika and Serena to face each other in 2013. They were to play in the Brisbane semis but Azarenka pulled out with a toe injury. Serena won Brisbane. At the Australian Open, Serena fell to Sloane Stephens before a potential semifinal with Vika. Azarenka won the Australian Open. Finally, fans of women’s tennis were treated to the match we wanted to see at the 2013 Qatar Total Open (Doha).
Once again they fought for 3 sets, with momentum swinging like a pendulum. Once again Vika found herself up 5-3 and serving for the match. She had been denied a match point at 5-2 with Serena serving. On this day, Vika would finish what she started. Azarenka would quickly get her 2nd chance at victory at 40-0 triple match point up. Serena was able to erase one of those match points with a sizzling up the line return of serve but would yank a cross court return of serve wide on the next point, sealing the win for Vika.
This win was good for the sport. Not because Serena lost. Serena is great for the game, particularly for American interest in the women’s game. However, with Maria Sharapova seemingly unable to get over the hurdle of facing Serena and potential talents like Petra Kvitova not always playing their best, it was up to Vika to make the competition interesting. But while Masha has now lost 10 straight to Serena, Vika came in having lost 9 straight to Serena. Still, like last year’s US Open, Vika was much more competitive against Serena than Sharapova. Still, at the end of the day there are no moral victories. Either you win or you don’t. With this win, Azarenka knows that at her best she can beat anybody, including Serena. Now there is more intrigue going into the Majors. It’s not just about how Serena does. There is a serious challenger to her now, even though Williams will return to #1 on Monday regardless of this loss. The question is, with Vika undefeated in 2013 and playing like she did at the beginning of 2012 when she had a similar undefeated streak, how long will it be before Azarenka reclaims the top spot in women’s tennis?
|Finals – Completed|
|V. Azarenka #1 «||7(8)||2||6|
|S. Williams #2||6(6)||6||3|
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VIKA AND SERENA