Victoria Azarenka Claims Miami Crown: We Found a Hero

Sergey ZikovSenior Analyst IApril 5, 2009

It didn't take an expert in reading lips to see the pure joy on Victoria Azarenka's face after defeating No. 1 American Serena Williams for the Sony Ericsson Open crown in Miami.

The 19-year-old Belarussian sensation had finally done it.

After taking down a terrific field of players that included Indian Wells diaper dandy Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova and four other seeded players, Vika had captured her first ever WTA "Tier One" event.

Fighting off her emotions and a bum left leg on the part of Serena, Vika made it look routinely easy, winning 6-3, 6-1.

Despite double-faulting three times in the final game, after finally securing Championship point, Azarenka dropped her racquet in total shock, threw her hat off and screamed for joy. 

Just remember to forgive her English.

"Sorry! I forget the English. I think, yeah, okay. I got it now. Then, she plays a good shot or I make a double-fault. So just after the second one, I thought I have to put first serve in."

Serena was struggling for the majority of the match with ankle and quad issues, a lingering effect from her match with her sister, Venus Williams. However, Vika had paid no attention to the outcome of the match the night before, and was not aware. It became more and more obvious as the match went on, as Serena's unforced error count kept going up.

Azarenka did not serve well at all during the match, double faulting seven times. She was much more effective in break point chances however, converting on five while only giving up one.

Feeling little pressure despite the stage, she fought off her nerves and continued to hit big forehands.

A great day indeed for women's tennis.

The WTA has been consistently judged by it's performance alongside the ATP, and over the past several years, the women's tour has not had any player who has really taken the game by storm.

There has been the Williams' sisters of course, but to many people, they are old news. There are players like Maria SharapovaAna Ivanovic, Jelena Jankovic and Dinara Safina, who have won before, but are susceptible to disappointments.

Sharapova has not played in many months now. The other three all suffered early round upset losses in Miami.

So where for the women's game to turn?

A youth movement in the WTA has been sweeping through the rankings, and it has become even more prevalent as of today. Young stars who can play, like new Champion Vika, Dane Caroline Wozniacki, Pole Agi Radwanska, and Frenchwoman Alize Cornet among others.

Why are they good for the sport you may ask?

Women today are too often known for their actions off the court rather than on it. This young quartet is focused. They thirst to improve. And with their results already in 2009, it is undeniable.

The WTA's motto, "Looking For a Hero?" is now fulfilled. They have found some.

Vika has now won three tournaments this year already, and reached a semifinal in Indian Wells as well.

Caroline has reached the quarterfinals in six tournaments in 2009 and has several wins over Top 25 players, she is on the verge of a break out too.


Q: You're now No. 8 in the world. Where do you go from here?

Victoria: To No. 7!