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Live Commentary: Australian Open Final: Victoria Azarenka vs. Maria Sharapova

Sports Mole's live coverage of the Australian Open women's final between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

Good morning and welcome to Sports Mole's live coverage of the first women's Grand Slam final of the year between Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

The contest is set to be one of the loudest ever such finals, with both women notorious for their moans, groans and screeches on court.

Azarenka, 22, is in her first Grand Slam final while Sharapova, 24, is looking for her fourth major title.

The pair have met on six occasions, with each winning three times. Who will nudge in front in the head-to-head count and be crowned Melbourne queen of 2012?

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Azarenka drops her racket in shock and truly looks is disbelief in winning the Aussie title. She goes to her box and hugs her team before emptying her kit bag around the stadium. Sharapova is downbeat in her chair but she was outclassed by the Belarusian despite an understandably nervous start. There was little drama to spark rallies that could have sent the decibel count into overdrive but it was an assured performance nonetheless from the soon-to-be world number one. Total points won: Azarenka 61-38 Sharapova.

GAME, SET AND MATCH! Azarenka 6-3 6-0 Sharapova

Sharapova shows why she's such a great professional with some relentless backhands at 15-15 to go ahead in the game but Azarenka responds with a brilliant cross-court effort of her own that is greeted with a whoop of surprise by the Melbourne crowd. Sharapova earns a break point after a forehand goes dead on the tape and trickles over the net but she fires long in the next rally. MATCH POINT Azarenka after a stooping forehand winner and she takes it as Sharapova finds the net.

TRIPLE BREAK! Azarenka 6-3 5-0 Sharapova

If Azarenka is to go on and win she will become world number one for the first time when the next rankings are released, and it certainly looks that way as Sharapova opens game five of the second with another unforced error. It's 15-30 after a cross-court forehand evades the racket of the gangly Russian and two more break points are on offer soon after. Sharapova saves the first with a serve out wide but pushes a forehand long on the next. Azarenka yells in celebration and she's just one game away.

Azarenka 6-3 4-0 Sharapova

The Belarusian's second serve win percentage of 54% is impressive for any game, let alone a debut Slam final and she continues to look impressive when under pressure on serve. She goes 40-15 ahead after a pair of loose returns from Sharapova but the Russian persists in going for the lines and finds one with her next forehand. "Game Azarenka" after another Sharapova forehand smacks the net. Two games away.

DOUBLE BREAK! Azarenka 6-3 3-0 Sharapova

Azarenka's backhand on the run really is something to behold. She manages to get it back so low and with excellent angle even after one of Sharapova's brutal blows. Two more break points are presented and she takes the first as Sharapova tries too hard to go for the corner.

Azarenka 6-3 2-0 Sharapova

Both women pride themselves on flat, baseline play and Azarenka doesn't look happy when approaching, dragging a backhand low to give Sharapova 0-30. The third seed pulls it back level on her next foray into the middle part of the court before a prodded return finds the corner from Sharapova. Break-back point. She dominates the rally but Azarenka is impressive defending, eventually forcing the Russian to play one shot too many. A clench of the Azarenka fist and nod of the head greets a Sharapova miss before she seals the game.

BREAK! Azarenka 6-3 1-0 Sharapova

At 15-15 Sharapova attempts an ambitious drive volley from just inside the baseline but can only find the middle of the net before the Belarusian earns two more break points. She takes the first after guessing right on a high Sharapova ball and digging a forehand past the despairing fourth seed.

Set 1: After a nervous start from the third seed, Azarenka imposed herself on that set and looks like she belongs against her seasoned counterpart. Sharapova's first serve percentage is good at 71% but she has won just one of nine points on her second. Total points won: Azarenka 35-26 Sharapova.

SET! Azarenka 6-3 Sharapova

Sharapova tries to take the initiative as Azarenka begins to serve for the set but her forehand is just outside the line before a backhand does find the corner to give her some hope. Azarenka extinguishes however and goes on to manufacture two set points. She takes the first as the Russian sends a limp forehand into the net. First set 6-3 to the Belarusian.

BREAK! Azarenka 5-3 Sharapova

Sharapova, serving with new balls, gifts a first double fault before answering some relentless Azarenka groundstrokes with a surprise down-the-line backhand. Two more first serves set up game points but another double on the second and we're at deuce. Azarenka's depth is impressive as she sends shots on both wings just inside the baseline to create break point but can't convert following an irretrievable forehand from Sharapova. She changes tact and approaches the net, with success, to create another opportunity which this time she takes after a delicate drop shot and put-away.

Azarenka 4-3 Sharapova

Azarenka goes 30-0 ahead with more shots that force Sharapova wide. She doesn't, and never really has, looked comfortable tracking down shots on the reach but responds to level the game at 30-30. Azarenka misses with the first serve but manages an excellent second to regain her lead in the game before clinching it on the next.

Azarenka 3-3 Sharapova

The Belarusian is definitely picking up Sharapova's serve and latching onto it early, forcing the Russian into some early errors in the sixth game. The former champion responds with some trademark, bullish hitting and sets up game point after bombarding Azarenka's backhand. She can't convert on the first one but produces the first ace to wrap up the game at the second time of asking.

Azarenka 3-2 Sharapova

Azarenka is suddenly the player making all the running, with Sharapova producing all the mistakes. A lazy backhand puts her behind in the game before Azarenka sees it out to go ahead for the first time.

BREAK! Azarenka 2-2 Sharapova

We're back on level terms in the Rod Laver Arena with Azarenka seemingly settling down in her Grand Slam final berth. She breaks to-love after some stronger groundstrokes that saw her first backhand winner down the line.

Azarenka 1-2 Sharapova

The Belarusian is on the board. Sharapova again looked ominous at 15-30 but some improved defence and shot variety from Azarenka sees her reel off four points in a row that included a high forehand winner up-the-line on game point to take the third game.

Azarenka 0-2 Sharapova

No such problems for the Russian on serve as she holds to 15 thanks to more consistent hitting on both wings.

BREAK! Azarenka 0-1 Sharapova

Sharapova breaks straight away after some wayward hitting from the Belarusian under pressure from flat, deep Sharapova groundstrokes.

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