Victoria Azarenka won the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells after defeating Serena Williams in straight sets on Sunday.
The Belarusian’s form has been on a steady rise since she returned to action full-time following her injury troubles throughout 2014 and 2015. She won the Brisbane International at the start of the year – her first title since 2013 – and came desperately close to a semi-final appearance at the Australian Open.
Azarenka continued to look good as she made her way through the draw at Indian Wells, but Williams was always going to be the real test for her.
As it turned out, it was a test she passed with flying colours, completing a convincing 6-4 6-4 victory over the world number one in an hour and 30 minutes.
Azarenka was quick out of the blocks, breaking Williams in the very first game of the match. She faced a total of five break points in the sixth and eighth games but saved them all before going on to clinch the first set.
First set goes to @Vika7 Azarenka!
— WTA (@WTA) March 20, 2016
Having gone a set up, Azarenka again broke Williams’ serve at the start of the second and then saved another four break points in the next game to consolidate her lead. That appeared to take some of the fight out of her opponent, who soon found herself trailing 0-4 after giving away another break.
To her credit, Williams fought back to reduce the deficit and get it back to 4-5, but despite some intense pressure from the American in the final game, Azarenka held on to clinch the big victory on her first match point.
— BNP Paribas Open (@BNPPARIBASOPEN) March 20, 2016