Azarenka outpowers Sharapova in Melbourne

It was no fairytale return to the Australian Open final for Maria Sharapova. The Russian was well-beaten in the final by Belarussian rival Victoria Azarenka. It was a thoroughly one-sided final, with Azarenka winning 6-3, 6-0.

Sharapova had the grand slam experience, but Azarenka was far from daunted in her first major final. It was a battle of baseline hitters, and Azarenka proved she could hit harder when it mattered.

The match started evenly, but at 3-3 in the first set, Azarenka found her rhythm, and won the next nine games to secure the title. "It was the best feeling, for sure," Azarenka said. "I don't know about the game. I don't know what I was doing out there. It's just pure joy what happened. I can't believe it's over."

The winner of the final was destined to take over the world number one ranking, and it is Azarenka who overtakes Caroline Wozniacki at the top of the rankings.

Sharapova has shown remarkable resolve to fight back to the top after struggles with a recurrent shoulder injury, but she still awaits her next grand slam title.

"She did everything better than I did today," Sharapova said after the match. "I had a good first couple of games, and that was about it. I was always the one running around like a rabbit, trying to play catch-up all the time. As in any sport, you have your good days, you have your tough days and you have days where things just don't work out."

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