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Azarenka thrashes Jankovic on Doha debut

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 11:48

Victoria Azarenka has made a stunning debut at the Sony Ericsson WTA Championships, crushing Jelena Jankovic 6-2 6-3 in the opening match of the season finale.

The 20 year old, who came into the event ranked a career-high No.6 in the world, simply had to play the steadier tennis as Jankovic, world No.1 this time last year, produced a string of errors to hand Azarenka the match.

The Serb dropped serve twice in the first set and failed to capitalise after recovering an early break in the second, handing it straight back to the Belarussian, who sealed the opening win in just over an hour and 20 minutes and now heads the Maroon Group.

The season-ending Sony Ericsson Championships shocases only the top eight WTA players of the season, splitting them into two round-robin groups – white and maroon, the colours of the Qatar flag – to determine two semi-finalists, with a potential $1.55m awaiting the champion.

Jankovic and Azarenka are joined in the Maroon Group by Caroline Wozniacki and Dinara Safina, who play on Wednesday.

Elena Dementieva faces Venus Williams in the first match in the White Group on Tuesday, with Serena Williams taking on Svetlana Kuznetsova shortly afterwards.

There is more than money and the title of Sony Ericsson WTA Champion at stake in Doha. Serena needs one more win than Safina to finish the year as the world No.1, having held the top rank for just two weeks before again slipping behind the Russian.

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