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Serena beats Azarenka to win Brisbane crown

World No 1 Serena Williams stamped herself as favourite for the Australian Open when she beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.

World No 1 Serena Williams stamped herself as favourite for the Australian Open when she beat Victoria Azarenka in the final of the Brisbane International on Saturday.

Serena Williams
American World No 1 Serena Williams celebrates her 6-4, 7-5 win over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus in the final at the Brisbane International on Saturday. Pic/AFP

In what could be a dress rehearsal for the Melbourne decider, Williams won a close first set then edged Azarenka in the second to win 6-4, 7-5 in 98 minutes.

Williams, the defending champion in Brisbane, just shaded Azarenka throughout, with her powerful serve proving the main difference between the world’s two top players. 

Williams broke Azarenka once in the first set. Although she lost her serve twice in the second, she broke Azarenka three times to seal a what was her 14th win over Azarenka in 17 meetings.

Williams had four testing matches in Brisbane, against Andrea Petkovic, Dominika Cibulkova, Maria Sharapova and Azarenka, and said the tournament was perfect preparation for the Australian Open.

“It was a great test, it showed me where my level was, and I feel I have some room for improvement.

I’m happy I was able to play both Maria and Victoria because they brought their A games against me. I know now what I need to do for Melbourne. I look forward to it.” 

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