There was a little more in the line during this final. It was a winner take all of sorts. The Australian Open winner of this particular final was guaranteed to clinch the No.1 ranking next week. No doubt there was nerves for Azarenka early in the match getting down 0-2, 0-30. At this point the nerves were gone because Victoria rattled off 9 games in a row after a 3-3 tie in the first set.It was a pretty lopsided victory ending in just 1 hour and 22 minutes.
After the match Sharapova took the microphone first: “First congratulations go to Victoria. It was an honor to play against you. You have worked so hard for this over the years and earned this title,” she said. “As in any sport, you have your good days and your tough days. Today things didn’t work out for me. Victoria was just too good.
“This was a tough loss today, but there’s no doubt I’ll be back and performing in front of you guys again. Melbourne has been my home away from home over the last month, and I couldn’t have asked for a better home than here.”
An exuberant and smiling Azarenka followed with her champion’s speech. “First I want to congratulate Maria. Thank you for such kind words. You had a great two weeks and did really well, and I’m sure there will be many more finals we’ll perform in,” Azarenka said. “I want to thank my team – you guys have been supporting me for so long, believing in me and making me realize I can believe in myself and can finally raise this trophy. I want to thank my parents, my friends, my boyfriend and my grandmother – the person who inspires me most in my life.
“It was an amazing month in Australia. It’s a dream come true.”
Azarenka is the first Belarusian to win a Grand Slam title and to rise to No.1 – her country’s previous best results came from Natasha Zvereva, who reached one Grand Slam final (the 1988 French Open final) and made it up to No.5.
“Congratulations to Victoria on reaching the pinnacle of her career and becoming the WTA’s newest World No.1,” said Stacey Allaster, Chairman & CEO of the WTA. “It has been great to watch Vika grow as a player over the last few years and I’m thrilled she has achieved this milestone at such a young age.”
Sharapova is now 3-3 in her career in Grand Slam finals, winning titles at Wimbledon in 2004, the US Open in 2006 and the Australian Open in 2008. She will rise from No.4 to No.3 on the new rankings; Petra Kvitova will stay at No.2, while Caroline Wozniacki will fall from No.1 to No.4.