Victoria Azarenka Defeats Serena Williams to Win 2013 Qatar Open

Ryan DavenportContributor IFebruary 17, 2013

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 26:  Victoria Azarenka of Belarus celebrates winning championship point after winning her women's final match against Na Li of China during day thirteen of the 2013 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 26, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Victoria Azarenka may have lost her No. 1 ranking, but the Belarusian star did bag her 16th career title by defeating Serena Williams in the final at the 2013 Qatar Open to win the tournament. 

Despite losing to Azarenka, Williams seized the No. 1 ranking simply by advancing to the final, but Azarenka put an end to the American legend's dominance and won her first match in 10 tries against Williams. 

It wasn't easy, but in the end the two-time Australian Open champion got the job done.

After taking the first set 7-6 (8-6) in a tiebreak, Azarenka stumbled to a 2-6 second set and looked as if she'd drop yet another match to Williams.

But this time, the 23-year-old came through in the clutch and clinched her second consecutive title in Qatar by securing the third and decisive set by a 6-3 margin.

Though Williams put up a good fight in the second set, the 31-year-old eventually came unglued, which was uncharacteristic for one of the greatest players of all time (via BBC Sport). 

Williams was unsettled early on, dropping serve with a double fault in game three and complaining to umpire Eva Asderaki that Azarenka was delaying her serve by saying she was not ready to receive.

Azarenka faltered only once in an impressive serving display in the opening set, but that allowed Williams to force the tie-break and earn the first set point.

With the set slipping away, Azarenka boldly took the initiative and moved into the forecourt, drawing an error from Williams who was forced into attempting a forehand pass.

Williams' errors would ultimately lead to her undoing, but Azarenka's ability to remain even-keeled after such a disheartening second set was a turning point in the match.

Azarenka has been thoroughly dominated by Williams on big stages, but Azarenka took a big step forward by defeating the 15-time Slam champion, even if it was only a WTA event. 

Last year, in the final two marquee events of the season (the Summer Olympics and the U.S. Open), Azarenka was ousted by the powerful Los Angeles native, including a 6-1, 6-2 pummeling in London. Needless to say, this win will be a big confidence-booster.  

No, it's not time to anoint Azarenka as the heir apparent to Williams' throne, but if the promising young European can gain momentum off this victory, she'll keep piling up the titles.