Cincinnati: Victoria Azarenka won a showdown between the world’s two top players by beating No. 1 Serena Williams in a three set 2-6, 6-2, 7-6 thriller in the final of the Western and Southern Open on Sunday.
For two hours and 30 minutes, Azarenka and Serena engaged in a seesaw battle before the Belarusian finally clinched the victory, winning a nervy tiebreak 8-6 to prevent the American from ticking a Cincinnati win off her ‘bucket list’.
“Obviously, a big win. It was a great match,” Azarenka told reporters. “Really, really pleased with the way I pulled it out. It was a great battle.
“There were no giveaways. It was pure fight.”
In a career that has generated 54 singles titles, including 16 Grand Slams, Serena had won just about everything there is to win in her sport — but not Cincinnati, one of the WTA Tour’s most prestigious tournaments.
Cincinnati will remain a hole on her resume for at least another year after Azarenka answered the challenge by claiming just her third win in 15 attempts against the 31-year-old American.
Serena came into the contest with a chance to pass several career milestones beyond a first Cincinnati win but failed to secure any of them. (Reuters)