Sharapova vs Azarenka: Score and Recap from Australian Open 2012 Women's Final

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Sharapova vs Azarenka: Score and Recap from Australian Open 2012 Women's Final
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Victoria "Vika" Azarenka just won the first Grand Slam of her career, as she defeated Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 on her way to win the 2012 Australian Open Women's title.

After the match was over Azarenka looked over at her box and asked what just happened, what do I do? The answer was easy: Azarenka just played the match of her life, that was what happened, go get your trophy.

And by the way, the 22-year-old Belorussian Azarenka got to lift the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and take to the bank the big paycheck of over $2 million.  

There was also icing on the cake for Azarenka, as she now ascends to the World's No. 1-ranking in women's tennis.

But not everything was looking bright for Azarenka, as she started off slow, playing tightly nervous.

As a matter of fact, both players started off nervous. But it was more evident in Azarenka, as she made two double-faults and faced her first break-point early.

Azarenka responded with a pounding forehand to the corner, erasing the break point. But in the next two points, Azarenka missed wide some nervous-looking, easy shots. Sharapova started up 1-0.

Sharapova went up 2-0 after holding serve in the second game that featured great-looking winners. 

Sharapova finished off the second game with a powerful serve and emphatically put away Azarenka's short return with a forehand winner.

The third game it looked like Sharapova would continue to run away with the match. She hit a backhand winner to the open court to put the pressure immediately on Azarenka.

At 0-30, Azarenka got a big forehand attack to Sharapova's backhand, whose passing shot missed long.

That point got Azarenka loose.

She began to hit the ball with more authority from then on and closed the game with a huge forehand winner down the line.

On the fourth game, Azarenka got the break as Sharapova missed long with her backhand. Sharapova challenged the call, but the out call was upheld and the set was tied 2-2.

Sharapova started to look heavy-footed and was not moving well.

Both players held serve and on Azarenka's serve on the seventh game, there were two key points to swing the match Azarenka's way.

At 15-0, Azarenka won a long rally with a big and powerful cross-court backhand that got Sharapova to miss her on-the-run backhand long.

Azarenka pumped her fist and started to swing away from there on.

At 40-30, Azarenka held after another beautiful rally with deep ground strokes from both players.

Azarenka hit a deep pounding cross-court backhand. Then she followed up with a drop-shot that brought Sharapova to the net and won with an easy lob winner over Sharapova. 

Azarenka went up 4-3 and never looked back.

Sharapova was not moving well, but that has never been her forté. The key in the first set had to be the unforced errors—16 by Sharapova, seven by Azarenka.

Sharapova also was not defending her second serve as well as Azarenka was, allowing break chances for Azarenka.

Azarenka looked confident to start the second set, as she was jumping on her feet waiting for Sharapova's serve.

Sharapova is one of the great fighters of all time in women's tennis—but she would have had to invoke her experience if she expected to make a comeback.

But again, everything was going Azarenka's way. She got the break on Sharapova when she anticipated the net put-away winner by Sharapova and got a forehand winner of her own.

Then on the second game with Azarenka serving, Sharapova got a break chance when she got a backhand return winner down the line.

But then, after another beautiful rally, Sharapova missed a backhand to the net. Sharapova looked to her box in frustration, missing her chance to get back even in the match.

On the next point, Sharapova couldn't get to her backhand on time and missed her down-the-line winner try.

She was looking a step slow and just didn't have the bounce on her feet.

Sharapova missed her forehand to the net, and the rest of the set was on cruise control for Azarenka.

The 6-0 was the first bagel in Sharapova's career at the Australian Open.

It's a breakthrough victory for Azarenka, who now becomes the fourth first-time major winner in a row. 

She also becomes just the third woman ever to win the Girls, Juniors and Women's titles at the Australian Open—Evonne Goolagong was the last one.

For the moment, Azarenka is 12-0 to start the year and will bask in becoming the new No. 1 in the world. Her challenge is to keep that ranking, as there are a lot of players close to her and could become a wheel of fortune the rest of the year.

But for the moment, it is Queen Victoria's time and she earned it.

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