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- Monday, February 18, 2013 - From Print Edition


DOHA: Victoria Azarenka beat Serena Williams 7-6 (8/6), 2-6, 6-3 to retain her Qatar Open title on Sunday, only her second win in 13 meetings with the American.


It was also completed back-to-back trophy defences for the Belarusian who last month defended the Australian Open title.


Azarenka, who will nevertheless lose the world number one ranking to Williams on Monday, served superbly in the first and third sets of her win, reducing the 15-time Grand Slam title-winner’s opportunities to unleash her ferocious ground strokes.


It prevented a triumphant epilogue to Williams’ recapture of the world number one position after an interval of two and a half years, and denied the tennis legend the 42nd title of her career.