WTA Brisbane International Final Recap: Awesome Azarenka beats Kerber, wins first title since 2013

AzarenkaVictoria Azarenka has laid down the gauntlet in 2016, winning the Brisbane International, her first title since 2013 in Cincinnati. Azarenka defeated Angelique Kerber, 6-3 6-1 in 73 minutes; in fact the Belarusian dropped just 17 games throughout the whole tournament in what was a dominant sweep through the draw. After their last match at the US Open, the Kerber-Azarenka Brisbane finale was hotly anticipated… And at the beginning, it delivered. Both players were producing high quality tennis; there were backhand winners galore with the pair combining for 29 winners compared to 16 unforced errors in the first set. Kerber started the better and there was a different feel about the way she was playing. Looking to be aggressive, she had slight control early on but Azarenka stayed in touch.

The pair exchanged three consecutive breaks before Azarenka consolidated her serve on one of the best rallies of the match to lead 5-3. Kerber seemed to lose a little heart from then. Once again, she’d been playing some great tennis against Azarenka, but the Belarusian was still drawing ahead in the scoreline. Kerber played a disappointing final game, serving up a double fault to gift Azarenka the opening set.

Kerber needed a fast start in the second set to halt the Azarenka momentum train but unfortunately it wasn’t to be. Kerber had four game points (including three break points on the Azarenka serve) in the first two games, but Azarenka won both of them. The Belarusian won the majority of the key points. Her backhand was potent and once again, her willingness to come forward and close points at the net was a key factor in this match-up… some of her volleys were delightful. The match went away from Kerber very fast at the end as she committed a stream of unforced errors. Azarenka finished with stats of 23 winners to 9 (!) unforced errors, while Kerber produced 25 winners to 27 unforced errors.

This sets up Azarenka perfectly not just for the Australian Open, but also for the entire year. A healthy, fit and in-form Vika is such an asset to the WTA tour and she makes tennis so much more interesting. I’m excited for her prospects at the AO where she’s bagged a top 16 seed. Kerber still had a great week, but I imagine she will definitely want some more matches in Sydney (as she has made clear in her press conferences) where she plays Elina Svitolina in the first round.

Congrats to Vika!

9 thoughts on “WTA Brisbane International Final Recap: Awesome Azarenka beats Kerber, wins first title since 2013

  1. As I expected, Victoria had her strategy down perfect. Not the greatest of finals, but Vika did what she needed to ( aggressive as soon as the chance came) . A bit disappointed Kerber couldn’t pull a fight back. Too error prone as well. Hopefully, it may also be playing it safe for the slam, cause she was a bit listless in those ground stroke rallies, can’t be burnt out before the slam.

    Positive result for Vika confidence wise, fingers crossed she’s match fit to slog it out in the Aussie heat come Melbourne. Personally though, don’t want to get too ahead of myself, the competition will be stiffer coming up.


    • Fair assessment of the final. Disappointing how Kerber fell away at the end. She looked great at the start but Azarenka just hung about and won all the key points.


  2. Sloane Stephens, nice win in the Auckland, and Agnieszka takes Shenzhen. Good results all round. Still waiting on Julia Gorges to seize the tour, but I may just have to keep waiting.


    • It was a good run for Goerges, hopefully she can follow it up at the AO as she has R4 points to defend. Sloane played a great match against Woz… Was worried after hearing she split with Saviano but couldn’t ask for a better first week!


  3. Am I the only one who doesn’t like Vika? I find her demeanour on court, and off of it, to be quite off-putting. Her game, on the other hand, is excellent; those groundstrokes are incredibly consistent and deep. She’ll definitely wreak havoc at the AO.
    P.S. I hope we get Vika vs Petra at the AO, their matches are top-notch.


    • I think Vika divides opinion and she is kind of a love/hate player. I can see she has many fans on social media. I would say I like her but she has done things in the past that has made me question this! Vika v Petra matches are always welcome, but I’d particularly like to see them play each other when they are both on their game.


  4. Good to see Vika playing well. I hope she gets a good draw at the AO. I hope she doesn’t play Serena until the final or semi. I hope the draw is even out .


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