Victoria Azarenka - AFP - 29012012
SCREAM QUEEN: Victoria Azarenka of Belarus hitting a return against Maria Sharapova of Russia yesterday in Melbourne. Photo by AFP
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DOHA, Qatar − Top-ranked Victoria Azarenka of Belarus shook off a lingering ankle injury to win the Qatar Open yesterday, routing Sam Stosur of Australia 6-1, 6-2.

This was Azarenka’s 17th straight victory and her first title since replacing Caroline Wozniacki as No. 1 after winning the Australian Open. It was her third title overall in 2012.

Azarenka showed no ill effects after twisting her left ankle in the semifinal against Agnieszka Radwanska on Saturday.

She broke the fifth-ranked Stosur twice to lead 4-1 in the first set, making a brief trip to the net to clinch it with a backhand volley.

“It’s amazing. I can’t believe I could play that kind of tennis today,” Azarenka said. “I knew I wouldn’t be 100 percent, so I had to change and adjust. I was just surprised today that everything was going in.”

Fearful of further aggravating her ankle injury, Azarenka said she tried to keep the rallies short and took advantage of the windy conditions. She kept Stosur’s potent kick serve in check with her return game, resulting in her opponent winning only 50 percent of first-serve points and 48 percent on the second.