Azarenka cruises to victory over Sharapova to win China Open

Associated Press

10/7/2012 9:43:01 AM

BEIJING -- Top-seeded Victoria Azarenka has won her fifth title of the year by dominating second-seeded Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-1 at the China Open on Sunday.

It was the third time this year that Azarenka won a title by beating Sharapova in the final after the Australian Open and Indian Wells.

Sharapova struggled with Azarenka's power throughout the 1 hour, 28-minute match and also served six double faults in the opening set but cut back to only one double fault in the second.

Azarenka raced to a 4-0 lead in both sets with Sharapova only managing to hold her serve twice in the match -- in the seventh game of the first set and the sixth game of the second.

"I was doing the right things to not let Maria play her game that she likes, you know to always be in control ," Azarenka said. "For the most part I was trying to keep up with her rhythm and, when I had a chance, to step it up."

Trailing 5-1 in the first set, Sharapova saved a set point with a winning forehand to hold serve for the first time in the match. Azarenka then dropped serve for the only time in the match for 5-3 before breaking the Russian to take the set.

Azaraneka raced to 5-0 in the second before Sharapova held serve, forcing Azarenka to serve out the match.

Overall, Azarenka now leads Sharapova 7-4 in their career meetings, and 4-1 this season with Sharapova winning their Stuttgart title match on clay.