Serena Williams successfully defended her title at the 2014 Brisbane International without losing a set en route to victory. The current World No. 1 will be hoping to make it three in a row in 2015.
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Over 100,000 spectators flocked to the Queensland tennis centre as the top seeds battled it out in the women’s final.
It was a dream come true for organisers as both the men’s and women’s finals drew record crowds. World No. 1 Serena Williams successfully defended her title defeating Victoria Azarenka in the final.
Williams appeared unstoppable at the beginning of the 2014 season, when she began her Australian Open campaign with a win in Brisbane. The 32-year-old successfully defended her title at the Brisbane International in early January defeating World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka in straight sets.
Serena Williams (Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)
The top seed did not drop a set en route to victory, defeating World No. 9 Dominika Cibulkova and No. 3 Maria Sharapova along her way. It wasn't a complete one-sided affair in the final, and despite Williams not playing at her dominant best, she still managed to overcome the Belarusian 6-4, 7-5 in just 98 minutes.
Williams and Azarenka each held serve during the first six games of the opening set before an intimidating Williams hit a powerful topspin return and drew the break from Azarenka. The American then held serve comfortably to seal the set 6-4 in just 37 minutes.
Although she served 10 aces for the match, Williams was obviously not in her career best form. Her serving woes carried over from her semi-final clash against Sharapova, where in uncharacteristic fashion, she served two double faults in the second set tiebreaker. There wasn’t much improvement in her final against Azarenka, however the 32-year-old could still beat the second seed with her B game.
Williams’ obtained the early break in the second set after an Azarenka double fault and a forehand into the net handed Williams the game. The defending champion was almost set to march away with the match at that point as Azarenka looked down and lost as she failed to win a single point in her opening service game and Williams went on to hold serve and lead 2-0.
However it wasn’t quite over just yet as in stark comparison to her double fault in the previous service game, Azarenka held serve with an ace to trail 1-2. The Belarusian then gained the slight momentum change as she got the double break and stormed through to claim the next four games in a row.Victoria Azarenka (WILLIAM WEST/AFP/Getty Images)
Williams’ was now on the back foot, trailing 2-4 in the second, but she managed to step up to the challenge and break back to level the score at 4-4. The infamously competitive American yelled “come on” and clenched her fist.
The match became very vocal between the women’s top seeds, but it was the World No. 1 who was able to get the final break point with a backhand winner down the line.
The dominating American then served out the match with ease closing it out in two sets. Williams made her initial game plan clear: be aggressive and dictate points.
“One of my goals is to stay relaxed, but I don’t want to fall into the trap of not having the intensity. So I wanted to make sure I had the intensity,” Williams said.
However Azarenka was not happy with her own efforts:
“I can’t say I’m satisfied today, but I want to take the positive. It’s never easy. It’s not a secret, but I think I was able to break her today. It was just a matter of those really key moments to go for it. I felt like in the second set I was going for it more. I just mis-hit a little bit,” the World No. 2 said.
The victory marked William’s 58th
career title and her first for the 2014 season after winning 11 titles in 2013.
Organisers are hopeful Williams will return to defend her title next year and that the tournament will again bring record crowds in 2015.This is how you can watch & bet on WTA Brisbane online: