/ Tennis

Azarenka secures victory over Sharapova

Updated: Wednesday, 21 Mar 2012 17:09

Victoria Azarenka is now unbeaten in 23 games
Victoria Azarenka is now unbeaten in 23 games

Lightning struck twice for Victoria Azarenka as she got the better of Maria Sharapova to win the BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells.

Less than two months after seeing off the Russian at the Australian Open, Azarenka needed an hour and 26 minutes to secure a 6-2 6-3 victory.

It means the Belarusian has now extended her winning run in 2012 to 23 games - she is still to taste defeat so far - and helped her underline her status as the best woman on the circuit at the moment.

She broke Sharapova six times throughout, on her way to picking up a winner's cheque and securing a fourth Tour title of the year.

She still has some way to go to equal Martina Hingis' 37-game unbeaten start to 1997, but her current sequence is the best since then.

After losing another major final to Azarenka, Sharapova was honest in her assessment of both of their performances.

"She's extremely solid and she makes you work for every point," she said.

"Ultimately I think maybe she forces you to want to do a little bit more than either you should or would want to.

"She's really fit, as well, playing with a lot of confidence, and you can definitely sense that when she's moving around the court and hitting the ball.

"I still feel like I just made too many unforced errors at the wrong time and wasn't solid enough."

Azarenka herself could barely believe the way her year has panned out so far.

"Last year was a learning experience for me," she said.

"Every loss I analysed and step by step just built on everything, just daily hard work.

"I had a lot of tough losses last year and so now I'm really trying to turn it around in my favour. I just try to be consistent and professional every day. I never dreamed this would happen."

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