By Erwin Ong
CINCINNATI – The top two female tennis players in the world took to Stadium Court for the final of the 2013 Western and Southern Open. No. 1 seed Serena Williams, who came into Cincinnati having won the Rogers Cup event in Toronto, was facing her biggest rival, No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.
The two had already met three other times in 2013, with Williams winning their match-ups in the semifinals of Brisbane and the finals in Rome, and Azarenka winning their finals match in Doha.
On Sunday, the two athletes pushed each other’s games, producing the high quality of tennis that captivated the crowd. Williams started strong, breaking Azarenka’s service game to open the match. Williams, who also broke Azarenka in the fifth game, did not face a break point in the first set.
Azarenka turned it around in the second set, breaking Williams serve twice and pushing the top seed in a long sixth game with 12 deuces, which Williams eventually held. Azarenka, from Belarus, won that set by breaking Williams’ serve, 6-2.
"I think she played really well," said Williams about her opponent. "I think she played really aggressive in the last two sets, which really changed momentum."
In the end, Azarenka took the match in the tiebreaker, winning 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(6).
In doubles, Mike and Bob Bryan beat No. 2 seeds Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez 6-4, 4-6, [10-4].