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Azarenka ends title drought

Sky Sports logo Sky Sports 10-01-2016 skysports.com

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Victoria Azarenka captured her first WTA Tour title since 2013 by brushing aside Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1 in the Brisbane International final. 

The 26-year-old from Belarus has been hampered by injuries since winning back-to-back Australian Open titles in 2012 and 2013, but she has proved her wellbeing this week.

Azarenka was unseeded in Brisbane, where she won the inaugural title in 2009, after slipping to 22nd in the world rankings.

But she dropped just 17 games in five matches, equalling Serena Williams' record for fewest games conceded by a winner at the tournament.

Azarenka hit 25 winners and committed only nine unforced errors against Kerber, weathering some heavy groundstrokes early on from the left-handed fourth seed and dominating after a trade of service breaks before holding for a 5-3 lead.

She broke serve three times in the second set, which she controlled after fending off three break-point chances in the first game.

The former world No 1 was claiming her 18th career title and her first since beating Williams at Cincinnati in August, 2013.

"I'm not sure I feel relief," she said. "I wanted to win the title, but I didn't feel, if this doesn't happen the world is going to end.

"I just feel really excited and happy that I'm doing the right things. I'm excited to keep working hard. It just gives extra motivation to keep working hard and achieve better things."

Azarenka will be buoyed by the win ahead of the Australian Open in Melbourne later this month, especially with many of the leading players in the world struggling with injuries.

Top-ranked Williams played just one set at the Hopman Cup in Perth because of inflammation in her left knee, while world No 2 Simona Halep and 2015 champion Maria Sharapova withdrew from the Brisbane tournament without playing a match and world No 3 Garbine Muguruza retired during her opening contest.

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