Palo Alto Weekly

Sports - August 6, 2010

Azarenka gets a chance to celebrate her fourth career WTA title

Lindsay Davenport records her first tournament title in two years

by Rick Eymer

Victoria Azarenka decided a little rest and relaxation was in order, so she skipped going to San Diego for another Sony Ericsson WTA Tour this week. She certainly played a lat of tennis while competing at the Bank of the West Classic at Stanford's Taube Tennis Center.

A day after her 21st birthday, Azarenka became the latest Bank of the West Classic champion. She beat Maria Sharapova, 6-4, 6-1, in Sunday's final for her first Sony Ericsson WTA Tour title of the season and her fourth career title. She earned $107,000 for her efforts.

"I don't want to have any regrets when I play, even if I lose matches," said Azarenka, who also reached the semifinals of the doubles tournament with partner Maria Kirilenko. "I have to go for it and cannot step back. I push myself forward on every point."

After suffering through a series of injuries during the clay court season, Azarenka has come alive as the U.S. Open series swings into full gear. She's won all four of her titles on hard court.

And now that she has some time, what will see be doing for her birthday?

"I want a cake," she said. "I want some ice cream . . . something besides salmon. I want to see my friends and family in Arizona if I have time."

She made time by withdrawing from the San Diego event. She was scheduled to meet Melanie Oudin.

Azarenka made her second appearance at the tournament. She had lost in the first round to Kirilenko in 2007. An unknown then, she's certainly made a name for herself since.

"They do this tournament on the campus of a college," Azarenka said. "It's amazing to see how well they organize it."

The doubles final turned into a barn burner, with Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber needing over two hours to beat Yung-Jan Chan and Jie Zheng, 7-5, 6-7(8), 10-8.

They are no strangers to doubles play. Davenport has 38 career doubles titles and has appeared in 61 finals. Huber, who will retake No. 1 when the new rankings are released Monday, has won 43 doubles titles and made her 71st appearance in a final.

Davenport, a former No. 1 singles player and fan favorite at Stanford, last won a doubles title at Memphis, with Lisa Raymond, in 2008.

In Los Angeles, Stanford products Bob Bryan and Mike Bryan won their record 62nd career doubles title on the ATP Tour on Sunday.

The twin brothers defeated American Eric Butorac and Jean-Julien Rojer of Netherlands Antilles 6-7 (8-6), 6-2 (10-7) in the Farmers Classic, the Bryans' 100th career final.

They had been tied with Hall of Famers Todd Woodbridge and Mark Woodforde of Australia, who won 61 titles.

"The Woodies put a record way out there. Sixty-one was Mount Everest when we started," Mike Bryan said. "We love what we do. To get this, one of their many records, is special."

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