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Whether she is ranked no.1 in the world or not, Serena Williams has always maintained that she is indeed the best player in the women's game. The 13-time Grand Slam champion gave ample proof of that hypothesis in the Magic Box on the controversial blue clay in Madrid, thumping the reigning world no.1 and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3 in just 64 minutes to win the 2012 Mutua Madrid Open. It was a humbling experience for Azarenka, who pretty much did not know what hit her as the 30-year old American showed her 22-year old challenger her place in the hierarchy of women's tennis.
Serena Williams made a blistering start to the match, racing away to a 3-0 lead inside 9 minutes for the loss of just 3 points with a double break of serve. Azarenka did not do herself any favours by throwing in three double faults in those early games, and another early finish for Serena looked on the cards.
Azarenka finally got on the board with a hold in the fifth game, and had a slight opening on the Serena serve in the following game as she earned a rare break point. Serena though quickly staved it off and held on to her serve for a 5-1 lead. There was no respite for Azarenka as she was broken for the third time in four service games as Williams pocketed the first set in 27 minutes, 6-1.
The second set was a more closely fought affair with Serena dropping 5 and Azarenka 6 points on serve respectively. The difference though proved to be crucial as Serena strung four of those points together in the one game early in the set to pick up a break, and that was all she needed to wrap up the match in just over an hour 6-1, 6-3.
The win improves Serena's record against Azarenka to an overwhelming 7-1 and puts the legendary American right at the top of the list of favourites for the second Grand Slam of the year, the French Open, which gets underway in exactly two week's time. Amazingly, earlier in the week, Williams also crushed world no.2 Maria Sharapova with exactly the same scoreline, making her clearly the player to beat heading into the business part of the clay court season.
Azarenka meanwhile will be gutted at not just having lost the Madrid Open final for a second year running, but also the manner of the defeat.
(9) Serena Williams (USA) d. (1) Victoria Azarenka 6-1, 6-3
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