Azarenka wins Miami Open for third time

Victoria Azarenka

Azarenka is just the fourth player to win the Miami Open at least three times, along with Steffi Graf, Serena Williams and Venus Williams

Victoria Azarenka secured back-to-back WTA titles with a straight-set victory over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the Miami Open final.

The Belarusian won 6-3 6-2 in 77 minutes to add a third Miami title to her victories in 2009 and 2011.

The 26-year-old, who won in Indian Wells two week ago, will return to the world’s top five next week.

Russian Kuznetsova, 30, was bidding for her second title of the year after her victory in Sydney in January.

Azarenka becomes just the third woman to achieve the Indian Wells-Miami double after Steffi Graf (1994, 1996) and Kim Clijsters (2005).

“I’ve been reminded of this since the quarter-finals on social media – ‘She’s going for the Sunshine Double,'” Azarenka said.

“I’ve done really well not to get distracted by the future and concentrate on the present.”

Form returns with fitness for Azarenka

Azarenka, a former world number one and twice winner of the Australian Open, has rediscovered her best form this season after failing to win a WTA title as injuries hampered her in 2014 and 2015.

She began the year with victory in Brisbane in January and last month overcame Serena Williams to win at Indian Wells.

“Being fit and being prepared helps a lot,” she said. “I definitely have a different approach and perspective from a couple of years ago.

“I worked a lot on myself outside the court to understand how to be present and make better priorities. That helps me to be in a relaxed way. I know I’m prepared and I don’t focus on the result.”

Keen to prove people wrong on clay

With just one defeat this year heading to the clay-court season, Azarenka, who has now won 20 career WTA titles, is hopeful that she can keep up her form on what is perceived to be her weakest surface.

“I’m definitely very motivated for the clay season,” she said. “I’ve always been a favourite of proving people wrong. That’s what motivates me a lot.

“When people say it’s not my favourite surface, I’m going to work really hard to make sure it’s my favourite surface.”

And with world number one Williams yet to win a title in 2016, the Belarusian does not rule out challenging her at the top of the rankings later in the year.

“We’ll see what happens,” said added. “Serena is one of the players who makes me push myself to the limit.

“She’s the toughest competitor there is and for me it’s a great challenge to have her, because it will always push me to improve.”

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