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Samantha Stosur wins Southern California Open

Stosur defeats No. 1-seeded Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 6-3, for her first tournament victory since the 2011 U.S. Open.

August 04, 2013|By Diane Pucin

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From the first point, a crackling service winner, Samantha Stosur seemed totally focused on erasing a negative mark on her record.

While the 29-year-old Stosur had won a U.S. Open title two years ago, upsetting Serena Williams in the final, the Australian had never beaten Victoria Azarenka. Azarenka, the No. 1-seeded player at the Southern California Open in Carlsbad, held an 8-0 career advantage over Stosur and, in fact, had lost only two sets in over eight years of playing Stosur.

But the crafty Stosur, who was seeded fifth, used her slicing backhand to perfection, capitalized on her break point opportunities and totally dominated Azarenka in her 6-2, 6-3 win in the championship match Sunday. The victory was worth $125,000 and, more importantly, a boost of confidence.

"It's been a long time since I've held a winner's trophy," Stosur said.

She hadn't won a tournament since that U.S. Open two years ago and with the season's last major less than a month away in New York, Stosur proved her game is advancing well on the hard courts. She accepted a wild-card invitation into the main draw after losing in the first round at Stanford about two weeks ago.

"It was worth it," Stosur said.

Azarenka, noted for her service return, could convert only one of the 12 break points she earned and she missed on her last 11 chances. Stosur, meanwhile, took advantage of almost all her chances. She had five break points and won four of them.

"I think this is a huge boost for me," Stosur said. "I haven't had great results for really all year, so to be able to bounce back, especially from last week's first-round loss and play better each day … is really exciting."

Azarenka, while praising Stosur's intrepid serving, mostly blamed herself for the loss.

"I think the statistics really said I didn't take my chances," the 24-year-old Azarenka said. "On the other hand, she was serving really well. I just felt like I was fighting and trying to do the same thing that wasn't working for me. That wasn't very smart for me to do. I didn't adjust and find the resources I had today. I didn't use my arsenal the right way."

Despite the loss, Azarenka, from Belarus, will become the second-ranked player in the world Monday. She had accepted a wild-card invitation to play in the next tournament, in Toronto, but seemed less certain about her participation in Canada next week. When asked whether she was heading to Toronto, Azarenka said, "I'm thinking about that."

And more than her shot-making, Azarenka blamed her decision-making for the loss.

"I was making too many wrong decisions, risky decisions when there was no need to be risky," Azarenka said. "I didn't try to stay in the rally sometimes. It was a little bit of stubbornness."

This was Azarenka's first loss on an outdoor hard court since she dropped a tense three-set final to Williams in the championship match of the 2012 U.S. Open.


This tournament was played without a title sponsor this year, and tournament officials suggested a decision on whether it would be back here next year will be made after the U.S. Open.

Twitter: @mepucin

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