MIAMI (FLORIDA), April 3: Victoria Azarenka captured her third Miami Open title and her first since 2011 with a 6-3, 6-2 victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova, late on Saturday.
For the fifth time in the last 21 years at the event, previously known as the Sony Ericsson Open and other names, the women�s final did not include at least one American. The 13th-seeded Azarenka of Belarus, became the third woman to win the back-to-back tournaments at Indian Wells, Calif and Key Biscayne in the same year, joining Steffi Graf (1994 and 1996) and Kim Clijsters (2005).
The Key Biscayne tournament is the first event that Azarenka has won three times.
�I want to dedicate this win to my family and to my parents, who I don�t see that often,� said Azarenka, 26, who won her 20th WTA singles title. �My parents taught me a lot of really great things. They gave me roots and I always know where I come from, and they gave me wings to fly so I can be here.�
She also revealed her postmatch plans, saying: �I�m going to eat some pizza. I can�t wait to eat some pizza.�
Azarenka prevailed despite serving ineffectively. She double-faulted six times and was broken three times, all in a sloppy first set for both players.
Azarenka broke the 15th-seeded Kuznetsova, a Russian, in the opening game and then held serve by chasing down a drop shot and hitting an overhead winner. After another service break, she led 3-0.
But Kuznetsova broke back, aided by consecutive double faults by Azarenka. Kuznetsova, trailing during her next service game, put on a visor to combat the sunlight and fought back to deuce after Azarenka lost a challenge. But Kuznetsova double-faulted and sent a forehand wide to fall behind by 4-1.
Azarenka double-faulted twice during the next game and then hit a shot long, dropping her lead to 4-2. With Kuznetsova again struggling on her serve, a blistering backhand by Azarenka evened the next game at 30-30. A forehand volley winner led to yet another break and a 5-2 lead for Azarenka.
The players traded breaks one more time to close the set. Azarenka got to set point on a perfect drop shot, and she won the set at 6-3 after Kuznetsova hit a forehand wide.
�The strategy was a few different things, but the most important thing was really to dictate the game,� Azarenka said. �She�s a great player, and she�s very good in defence.�
There was just one hold of serve in the first set and Azarenka got only 58 percent of her first serves in. The players combined for 41 unforced errors and eight double faults in the set.
The women held serve in the first three games of the second set, but then Azarenka broke at love with an overhead smash to take a 3-1 lead. She used a swinging forehand volley to go ahead by 4-1.
Kuznetsova fought off two break points to hold and make it 4-2, but she sent a forehand high and wide to fall behind, 5-2. � Agencies