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Maria Sharapova v Victoria Azarenka Australian Open 2010 as it happened

LIVE TEXT COMMENTARY (all times GMT)

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By Aimee Lewis

1052: Right, that's the women's final done and dusted. It's time for me to bid you farewell but the Australian Open isn't over yet. Oh, no. There'll be more live text commentary for Sunday's clash of the tennis behemoths - that's defending champion Novak Djokovic's final showdown against 10-time Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal, as if you needed reminding. BBC2 coverage begins at 0815GMT and we'll be up and running nice and early to include as many of your tweets and texts as possible. I can't wait.

Twitter
Nonye Uch-Ukah on Twitter: "The second set was a whitewash. Gutted for Sharapova, happy for Azarenka. Good to be a neutral."

Twitter
Australian Open on Twitter: "Azarenka says each member of her team has to dye their hair blonde now she's won a Grand Slam title!"

1043: "Stats don't lie," says my colleague David Ornstein and on closer inspection they certainly back up Azarenka's whirlwind victory. The 23-year-old hit merely 12 unforced errors, while Sharapova's racquet produced 30 and that's where the match was won. Azarenka's service game was solid, finding the target 71%, while winning 68% of points on her first serve. Sharapova's percentages were down a notch, winning just 53% of points on her first serve.

1035: So, after merely an hour and 22 minutes we have a new Australian Open champion and a world number one. It was a more one-sided affair than many predicted, but the fearless Azarenka was a worthy winner, admirably settling the early nerves after a wobbly start. The tale of the match is up on the website, beautifully written by David Ornstein.

Twitter
Matic Bajngerl on Twitter: "Finally a true and legit number one in women tennis with a grand slam and fantastic future."

Twitter
Mark Rutherford on Twitter: "I'm stoked! AusOpen Champion, major winner and WORLD #1 - it's @Vika7, superstar!!"

1024: The new world number one, Victoria Azarenka, blinded by flashbulbs, hoists the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup, joining greats such as Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles, Martina Hingis and Serena Williams. She is temporarily lost for words before thanking Sharapova and the crowd and, finally, promising: "I can't wait to be back."

1020: Sharapova, fighting hard to keep those salty tears at bay, slowly walks to the stage in the middle of the court to collect the runner-up prize. She gives a gracious speech, congratulating the victor and adding: "It's an honour to play against you. Cherish it for as long as you can. I've had great moments here and I've had tough losses and this was another one, but there's no doubt I'll be back performing on this stage."

Twitter
Andrew Pile on Twitter: "That was quick!"

Twitter
Francis N on Twitter: "For my money, Sharapova was outplayed, outsmarted, out muscled, out hit & out smashed by an Azarenka with sheer determination."

1010: Azarenka, who is currently sitting in her chair and texting while she waits to collect her prize, made winning a maiden Grand Slam look easy. What an incredible performance from the pumped-up third seed - winning 11 games on the trot - against the experienced Sharapova.

Sharapova 3-6 0-6 Azarenka
No sign of nerves as the 23-year-old goes 15-0 ahead, but Sharapova battles bravely to take the next two points, the highlight of which being a nonchalant forehand winner down the line. A fortuitous net cord helps Sharapova secure break point. Oh, the tension! But, as has been the story of the match, Sharapova crumbles and can only find the tape then, as quick as a flash, Azarenka has championship point and sinks to her knees when Sharapova tamely nets.
*Denotes next server

The match is over
VICTORIA AZARENKA WINS AUSTRALIAN OPEN AFTER 6-3 6-0 WIN OVER MARIA SHARAPOVA

Sharapova 3-6 0-5 *Azarenka
I have so many facts to tell you but there's no time to type them, such is the ferocity of the Azarenka juggernaut. Sharapova is chasing shadows out there and Azarenka has two break points when Sharapova tamely finds the net. "Sharapova is almost blowing herself out," says Jeremy Bates, whose commentary you can listen to online. The ruthless third seed forces Sharapova to net once again and she's one game away from the title.
*Denotes next server

Twitter
Nwike Obianagha on Twitter: "Sharapova needs to dig in, this championship is slowly slipping out of her grasp."

*Sharapova 3-6 0-4 Azarenka
Azarenka has the confidence now to make the shots and is agonisingly off target when a beautiful-looking lob drifts long by a whisker. The 23-year-old does not have to do much out there, though, as Sharapova is gifting her easy points by regularly finding the tramlines, and the Russian now has a mountain to climb.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 3-6 0-3 *Azarenka
"Azarenka is out-hitting Sharapova right now. You can really tell someone's confident when they take that really high bouncing ball - that shows Azarenka's confidence right now," says Bethanie Mattek-Sands. Sharapova has made 24 unforced errors in this match and it's proving costly as the Belarusian earns a couple of break points and takes her chance at the first opportunity for a commanding second-set lead.
*Denotes next server

*Sharapova 3-6 0-2 Azarenka
On closer inspection, Azarenka's headband is a luminous yellow and her sweat bands are lime green. I'm only colour blind on Saturday mornings, I promise. The 23-year-old's sparkle is momentarily dimmed when Sharapova zooms 0-30 ahead, but a lovely deep serve followed by an unstoppable deep volley restores parity. A fantastic backhand return engineers break point for Sharapova but, once again, the Russian's groundstrokes are wayward and Azarenka secures the all-important hold.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 3-6 0-1 *Azarenka
Azarenka is one set away from the championship and that championship, ladies and gentlemen, is the Australian Open. It's all-square at 3-3 in head-to-head meetings between these two, but Azarenka has won the only two finals - both on hard courts - in Stanford and Miami. Azarenka is on top in Melbourne, with another wayward Sharapova forehand gifting Azarenka two break points and the third seed wraps up matters with a wonderful passing shot beyond the lunging Sharapova.
*Denotes next server

Twitter
Femi Longe on Twitter: "It's probably the most balanced Women's Final in a long time, but Azarenka should win if she keeps her service game tight."

*Sharapova 3-6 Azarenka
Azarenka, blue vest top and lime headband, is pressurising Sharapova by advancing to the net and brings the set to a conclusion with a trouble-free service game.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 3-5 *Azarenka
Sharapova is moving her opponent hither and tither and a charming backhand from the Sharapova racquet wrong foots the third seed. Sharapova's play is far from perfect, though, as a wayward forehand and a double fault gives Azarenka a sniff at deuce. Then it's a cry of "come on" from the Belarusian when Sharapova nets for break point, but a stunning angled forehand saves the Russian. Azarenka advances to the net and beats Sharapova with a deep volley and replicates that play to earn a second break point. Second serve Sharapova... finds Azarenka's backhand... Azarenka forces a scrambling Sharapova to the net and punches away a volley to win the point! What a turnaround.
*Denotes next server

Twitter
Juju on Twitter: "Azarenka has woken up, finally we have a competitive tennis match on our hands."

*Sharapova 3-4 Azarenka
After a quiet start for the gruntometer, the screams are now a little louder and a tad higher in pitch as the ladies battle it out from the baseline. Azarenka mixes it up though and a cute drop shot forces Sharapova to the net, and the wily third seed hits a beautiful lob over the Russian's 6ft 1in frame to wrap up the game.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 3-3 *Azarenka
Sharapova is by far the most experienced of the two ladies on Rod Laver Arena but, with nine unforced errors to her name already, she looks a tad uncomfortable against Azarenka's beastly baseline groundstrokes, and Azarenka forces the game to deuce. A venomous forehand from Sharapova forces Azarenka to net for advantage, but we're back on deuce when the Russian lazily finds the tramlines. Sharapova wriggles free, though, with two thunderous aces to leave Azarenka muttering to herself.
*Denotes next server

*Sharapova 2-3 Azarenka
What a humdinger this looks set to be as a determined Azarenka bites back to comfortably hold serve against a faltering Sharapova, who is making a number of unforced errors out there. You can listen to this match live on this website, by the way, with Russell Fuller, American player Bethanie Mattek-Sands and former British number on Jeremy Bates on 5 live web-only commentary duty.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 2-2 *Azarenka
Azarenka finds her zen like calm to race to three break points and a wayward backhand from Sharapova gifts her opponent the game so we're all square again.
*Denotes next server

Twitter
J Cullen on Twitter: "For once I'm more interested in the grunting rather than the match I think! May the biggest squealer win! "

*Sharapova 2-1 Azarenka
"She has come out to play today," says John Lloyd of Sharapova as the 24-year-old's sizzling groundstrokes move her to 0-30, but third seed Azarenka wins the next four points and is, as they say, back in the game.
*Denotes next server

Sharapova 2-0 *Azarenka
No early-match wobbles from three-time Grand Slam champ Sharapova, a double fault the only black mark on an otherwise faultless hold for the 24-year-old.
*Denotes next server

*Sharapova 1-0 Azarenka
Azarekna opens proceedings on what is a balmy evening in Melbourne. Temperatures, I'm told, hitting 30C. The third seed begins a little tentatively, with a double fault allowing Sharapova to creep ahead for 15-30. The Russian pockets break point without much effort but a booming deep serve saves Azarenka. Two wayward strokes from the baseline, though, gifts Sharapova an early break.
*Denotes next server

0842: The players have just finished warming up so time for me to ask you to join the live text fun. Tweet me @aimee_lou_lewis using the hashtag #BBCTennis or text in on 81111 (UK).

0840: The grunting and squealing has been the hot topic in the build up to this match, with the authorities promising to eradicate the high-pitch squeals. Former British number one John Lloyd has given his opinion on the matter, saying: "It's got to be stamped out." Azarenka, though, says such talk does not concern her. "Well, I'm not deaf," said the 22-year-old Belarusian when asked about Sharapova's grunting. "Of course I hear her. I'm sure she hears me. And about another 15,000 people hear us maybe even further away. But it doesn't bother me."

Twitter
Samuray T-X on Twitter: "Maria for world number 1 and Aussie Open! been playing so well from last year and deserves a slam! Cmon Maria!!"

0833: The women's final is indeed the perfect tonic for those of you whose nerves were frayed after Andy Murray's agonising five-set defeat by defending champion Novak Djokovic. If you missed that match then take a peek at the highlights or, if you've got five hours or so to spare, watch the match in full on iPlayer. Leave the iPlayer for later, though, otherwise you'll definitely miss out.

0824: Not only will the winner of today's much-anticipated shriekingly good match hoist the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup aloft, she will also become the best player on the planet - official. Maria Sharapova has done it all before, of course, topping the women's rankings and triumphing at Melbourne Park in 2008 for her third Grand Slam title. Victoria Azarenka, appearing in her first grand slam final, in comparison is a novice. If you manually refresh then live BBC2 coverage of the match will appear at the top of this page. Magic.

0815: Ladies and gentlemen, ear plugs at the ready, let's prepare for the loudest final in history. Yes, today's contest between Maria Sharapova and Victoria Azarenka has been dubbed the scream queen final while others believe the winner will be crowned Princess of Wails. There is no doubting the victorious lady at Melbourne Park will have plenty to SCREAM and SHOUT about. See what I did? Ah, forget it...



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