Self-belief key behind 6-3, 6-0 thrashing of Sharapova in final, says new World No 1 Azarenka of Belarus

Victoria Azarenka was last night sitting on top of the world after thrashing Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open. The Belarusian's 6-3, 6-0 victory, achieved in just an hour and 22 minutes, not only gave her a maiden grand slam triumph but also saw her surge to No 1 in the WTA rankings.

Belarus' Victoria Azarenka celebrates after beating Russia's Maria
Sharapova in the Australian Open final on Saturday. Pic/Getty Images

The sheer brilliance of her performance, and the calmness shown to see the match out, surprised many but the 22-year-feels she can get even better. Asked whether she felt she played the perfect match, Azarenka said: "I don't think so. Just the perfect ending.

"I didn't think going into the match I had to play the perfect match. I just had to play better than my opponent. The first two games was a bit of a disaster but then I got the momentum going. I relaxed and started focussing on each point, trying to do whatever it took to win that point."

Azarenka has not always shown such self-belief when closing in on a major victory and admitted her semi-final win over defending champion Kim Clijsters had helped in that regard.

She said: "It was a huge win over Kim, not only because it was a semi-final but just beating a great champion
"It really helped me a lot with the self-belief. You have to go through the tough matches to win the titles.
"Today was another learning experience for me because I have never been in that position and I did pretty well."