Azarenka Wins Australian Open
Belarussian is now women's top-ranked player
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jan 28, 2012 5:30 AM CST
Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates her win.   (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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(Newser) – Victoria Azarenka beat Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 today to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 ranking, all in her first Grand Slam final. The 22-year-old Belarusian had her serve broken in the opening game of the match and was down 2-0 after a nervous start before winning 12 of the next 13 games to take the match away from Sharapova, a three-time major winner and the 2008 Australian champion.

"Wow," Azarenka said as she first spoke to the crowd, then started giggling. She thanked her support team, saying, "You made me realize I can believe in myself and I can finally raise this trophy." Azarenka has been a distinctive presence at Melbourne Park as much as for her shrieks and hoots with each shot and seemingly boundless energy as for her white shorts, blue singlet, and lime green head and wrist bands. In the men's final, Rafa Nadal plays Novak Djokovic .

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