Azarenka Stakes Statement Win Over Serena in Doha Final
Serena Williams is No. 1 in the world, but Victoria Azarenka is No. 1 in Doha.
The younger Williams sister took over the No. 1 ranking from Azarenka during the week, in the process setting the record for becoming the oldest No. 1, but Azarenka was the rare winner in the Doha final over Williams, triumphing 7-6(6), 2-6, 6-3.
In the process Azarenka stopped a nine-match losing streak against the American.
“Near the end she saved a match point with a good serve — that’s what you normally expect to get from Serena when she’s in trouble — a bullet,” Azarenka said. “But it wasn’t a big deal, really — I just had to keep my composure and make another opportunity and create another match point.”
Azarenka improved to 14-0 on the year.
Serena, with her high unforced error rate, said the results were all on her.
“On my end it probably wasn’t the best quality — I made so many errors. It was just weird,” Serena said. “My serve, oh my gosh — it was just one of those days. I’m having too many of those days. I’ve got to cut them out. This whole week I just don’t think I played my best tennis. But I was fighting every match. I was really excited to make it to the final with the game I was playing all week.”
Serena gave herself a “2 out of 10” for the final, and got around to giving the Belarussian credit.
“I always respect Victoria,” Serena said. “I think she’s a really good player. Obviously she’s so consistent and she plays well. She’s such a solid player. It’s nice to always play someone and go home and you’re like, ‘Okay, I didn’t do great, but let me work harder.”
Del Potro Overcomes Nose Bleed, Benneteau to Win Rotterdam
Argentine Juan Martin del Potro overcame a number of obstacles, most importantly Frenchman Julien “United Colors of” Benneteau 7-6(2), 6-3 to capture his 14th career title at the ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam. Del Potro lost in the final last year to Roger Federer.
“It’s amazing. I’m so happy to win this tournament,” del Potro said. “I played really well from the first round to the final. I think I played the way I needed to, to win this kind of tournament.” In the second set del Potro weathered a nose bleed, serving out the match with a cotton plug in his nose. “I have a big nose,” del Potro joked. “Maybe it was nerves, getting close to finishing the match and winning the tournament. But it was not dangerous and I felt fine to close out the match at 5-3.” Benneteau topped Federer in the quarterfinals, and countryman Gilles Simon in the semifinals.
Canuck Raonic 3-Peats at ATP San Jose
Canuck Milos Raonic won a third straight San Jose title, defeating former world No. 2 Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-3 in the Sunday final of the SAP Open. “With this event, that has had so many great champions, it’s pretty special. To sort of one-up it and three-peat is pretty awesome,” Raonic said.
“I didn’t play a bad match,” Haas said. “I just came up against a guy who played phenomenal tennis today. He didn’t give me any looks on his serve. All the credit to him for that. He served extremely well. He has a lot of confidence. He took risks when he had to and got rewarded for it. That’s his game and that�s what makes him so tough.” It was the final SAP Open after 125 years held in San Jose.
Comebacker Nadal Beats Nalbandian for ATP Sao Paolo Title
Former world No. 1 Rafael Nadal, denied last week in his comeback tournament, captured the title on Sunday at the Brasil Open in Sao Paulo, rolling over David Nalbandian 6-2, 6-3. It was the first title for Nadal since the 2012 French Open. “It’s very nice and important because at the end of your career, what’s left are the titles, and depending on certain moments there are some titles that you appreciate very much,” Nadal said.
Nadal recovered from an 0-2 deficit in the second set. “I don’t think I played my best match of the week today. I think Rafa played better, he played deep,” said Nalbandian, who fell to 11-13 in career finals. “I feel good because after a long time not playing, I reached the final in Sao Paulo.”
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