KEY BISCAYNE (CBS4)-Victoria Azarenka has won the Sony Ericsson Open for the second time after she defeated Maria Sharapova, 6-1, 6-4.
The No. 8-seeded Azarenka was the steadier player Saturday, and she won nine consecutive games to take charge. Sharapova committed 43 unforced errors, held serve only once and came up short with a late comeback bid.
Azarenka said the match with Sharapova was challenging but she kept it together in the end.
“I had to hang in there …I tried to play aggressive and keep up with my game,” she said.
Azarenka also won Key Biscayne in 2009, beating Serena Williams in the final. The two titles are the biggest of the Belarussian’s career.
Sharapova, whose most recent title came at Strasbourg in May 2010, has lost her past four finals. She fell to 0-3 in finals at Key Biscayne, where she was also the runner-up in 2005 and 2006.
Azarenka is projected to be ranked No. 6 next week, matching her career-best.
Azarenka, who said she take it one week at a time and had fun, said she’s ready to celebrate.
“I am 21 right now,” she said. “Maybe I can go out finally. No, I’m kidding. I’m going to celebrate with my teammates and I can’t wait.”
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