Victoria Azarenka made a statement in thumping Agnieszka Radwanska, who had criticized the world No. 1's on-court demeanor. (Getty Images)
For all the hype that this match received (and admittedly, I was one of those hyping), Victoria Azarenka's 6-0, 6-2 destruction of Agnieszka Radwanska turned out to be a dud. It was a match that saw Azarenka pummel Radwanska from the baseline, leaving the Pole frustrated and forced to laugh at the absurdity of the Azarenka's domination.
"Either you can cry or laugh, right, when you see that it's just not going your way," a red-eyed Radwanska said afterwards. "What can you do?"
With the way Azarenka's been playing lately, that's the question most of her opponents have been left asking themselves. She's boosted her win streak to 21 matches, the best start to a WTA season since Serena Williams' 21-match win streak in 2003. You could see how much this match meant to Azarenka in her post-match celebration. She angrily pumped her fist at her box and then again after the handshake before pointing her index finger to the sky as she saluted the crowd. This wasn't business. This was personal.
Radwanska was as subdued as I've seen her in some time after the match and for good reason. The outspoken Pole gave Azarenka all the bulletin board material she needed in February when she criticized her on-court behavior, saying "I don’t think this is the great image for the women’s tennis." After being on the receiving end of a shellacking by the World No. 1, Radwanska clearly had her tail between her legs.
In contrast, Azarenka bounded into her post-match press conference wearing a T-shirt that read "Best is best." Subtlety has never been her strong-suit, but when asked about her performance, Azarenka dipped her toe in the passive-aggressive pond. Asked about her motivation for the match, Azarenka took a swipe at Radwanska's earlier comments.
"I hope I was a good example of woman's tennis," Azarenka said with a less-than-subtle smirk.
Game, set, match, Azarenka.
You can see match point and Azarenka's celebration here: