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Page last updated at 20:39 GMT, Sunday, 1 August 2010 21:39 UK

Victoria Azarenka beats Maria Sharapova in Stanford

Victoria Azarenka
Azarenka adds Stanford to the three WTA titles she won in 2009

Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova in straight sets to win the fourth title of her career in Stanford, USA.

The world number 18 from Belarus prevailed 6-4 6-1 for her first tournament victory of the year.

It marks the return to form of a player who had slipped from sixth in the world last year after injury problems.

Sharapova, the world number 15, would have achieved her best ranking since returning from a shoulder injury in May of 2009 had she won the title.

But after twice fighting back from a break down in the first set she was broken again to fall 5-4 behind, and Azarenka eventually closed out a tight set after an hour's play.

The Belarusian, who turned 21 on Saturday, broke serve for the fourth time in the opening game of the second set and again to lead 4-1 as she went on to close out the match in one hour and 28 minutes.


"I haven't lost a match yet since I turned 21," Azarenka joked afterwards. "It's great. I can have cake now."

She added: "It just brings me so much confidence and passion to go, especially before the US Open.

"I'm glad I'm picking up my form and gaining so much confidence.

"Maria is a great player. I had to dig my way in, I was running a lot. It was tough to hold my serve. I had to play really well - I'm glad I kept fighting. Point by point it worked for me."

Sharapova said: "Congratulations to 'Nika on great playing and a great week. I'm sure we will be playing many more times so I will get my revenge."

In Turkey, third seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova beat fellow Russian Elena Vesnina 5-7 7-5 6-4 to win her second career title at the Istanbul Cup.

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see also
Sharapova reaches Stanford final
01 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Borwell retires from semi-final
01 Aug 10 |  Tennis
Sharapova reaches Stanford semi
31 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Champion Bartoli defeats Ivanovic
30 Jul 10 |  Tennis
Dementieva returns with victory
29 Jul 10 |  Tennis

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