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By Chris Oddo/ Tuesday, September 24, 2013


Venus Williams notched her first top two victory since 2009 when she took out Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 6-4, in Tokyo on Tuesday.

Photo Source: AP

Venus Williams cruised to a relatively easy victory against World No. 2 Victoria Azarenka at the Toray Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo on Tuesday. The 6-2, 6-4 victory marks the elder Williams' first triumph over a top-two ranked opponent since she defeated Dinara Safina in the 2009 Wimbledon semifinals.

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“Yeah,” said Williams. “Obviously it was great to win today. I don't think Victoria was feeling her best and hopefully she'll be feeling better and ready for Beijing—lord knows I know what it feels like not to feel great.”

Williams put on a shotmaking clinic from start to finish, taking advantage of a noticeable lack of spunk from the World No. 2 by passing her with well struck forehands and dumping a few perfectly placed backhand topspin lobs over her head to keep her guessing.

After breaking the Belarusian's serve three times in the first set, Williams closed the opener with a wicked inside-out forehand that skidded off the line and off of Azarenka's racquet as well.

Azarenka said she hadn't been feeling well all week, and her illness limited her practice time. ""I haven't been feeling well the last few days and haven't been able to practice," she said. "It has been very frustrating. But I got out there for the people."

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Williams broke early in the second set but Azarenka fought to level the set at four-all.

But in the ensuing game, Azarenka missed an easy backhand long to hand Williams the decisive break and swatted a ball angrily to the back of the court in frustration afterwards.

It was the window Williams needed to secure her biggest win of the season. She held to love in the final game, closing the match with a nice serve down the T that Azarenka could only send wide.

“Yes it feels good to have a top win, but it's not the end of the tournament, the tournament really just started,” she said. “I've run up on a ton of bad luck but I'm working through that. If any good luck comes my way I'll be on it.”

Williams won 24 of 32 first serve points against Azarenka, and was happy to have such good results against one of the game's most lethal returners from the service stripe. “My serve's coming back to me,” said the 33-year-old, seven-time Grand Slam champion. “It was very challenging with no serve with my back injury. Just getting a chance to play matches is awesome.”

The World No. 63 will next face Simona Halep with a spot in the quarterfinals on the line.


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