Azarenka Defeats Spurred Me on to Win – Sharapova

The chance to end a poor run of form against world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka spurred Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova on to victory in the Stuttgart Grand Prix, Sharapova has said.

Sharapova beat Azarenka 6-1, 6-4 in Sunday’s final after losing four of their last five matches, including a 6-3, 6-0 thrashing in the Australian Open final in January.

“I had lost the last few previous encounters with Victoria, so I was extremely motivated today,” Sharapova said at the trophy presentation, in comments cited on the WTA website.

Keeping a cool head against the Belarusian made the difference, Sharapova said.

“When I got the chance to go out and play her again I knew I had to change a few things. Before I was maybe a little bit impatient and went for a bit too much sometimes, but this time I was really patient. I was aggressive but consistent when I had to be against her.”

The defeat was only Azarenka’s second of the year, and she remained upbeat despite the loss and would now focus on the upcoming Madrid Open, she said.

“I lost today and that’s it, I’m moving on. The world doesn’t end. There’s going to be another big tournament in one week and I just have to look forward,” she said in comments on the WTA website.

“Maria served really well and her game was really on. All credit to her.”

The win gave Sharapova her 25th career WTA title in 41 final appearances, and her first since she beat Serbia’s Jelena Jankovic in Cincinnati in August.

Azarenka’s only other defeat this year came in Miami in March, when she lost to Marion Bartoli in the quarterfinal.

Sharapova’s win also helped to reduce the world No. 2’s gap to Azarenka in the WTA rankings from 1,050 to 740 points in the new rankings published Monday.


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