Victoria Azarenka believes playing positively will be the key to future success against Serena Williams after defeating the American in the final of the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday.
The Belarusian has struggled with injury for large parts of the last two years but has looked sharp so far this season, and having talked herself up in the build-up she then took the game to the world number one at Indian Wells.
In contrast, Williams could not find her rhythm in the Californian desert, converting just one of her 12 break-point chances on an uncharacteristically flat afternoon.
Azarenka secured the title with a string of aggressive shots and can now head into a busy summer in the knowledge that she is back to the type of form that can help her defeat the brilliant Williams.
Despite the calendar being packed with big events in the coming weeks, the pair’s next big goal is likely to be the French Open in May.
Defending champion Williams is the current 3.10 favourite to defend her crown while two-time Grand Slam winner Azarenka is 8.00.
Although Williams remains the best player in the world, Azarenka, 26, says Sunday’s win has shown her that playing positively can deliver titles.
“I have to go for it,” Azarenka said. “She’s not a type of player that if you’re going to play safe she’s going to give it to you or she’s going to miss.”