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Azarenka sounds Australian Open warning with Brisbane win

BRISBANE: Victoria Azarenka displayed the kind of form that could lead her to a hat-trick of Australian Open titles later this month by brushing aside German fourth seed Angelique Kerber 6-3 6-1 in the Brisbane International final on Saturday.

The former world number one has been plagued by injury over the last two years but the world number 22 showed little sign of rust this week on her way to a second Brisbane crown.

The Belarusian dropped only 17 games over five matches during the tournament and claimed her first title since the Cincinnati Masters in August 2013.

The 26-year-old, who won her maiden Brisbane title in 2009, took control of the match against world number 10 Kerber after an early trade of breaks in the first set and then peppered the court with her powerful groundstrokes.

Kerber, the highest seed left after the withdrawals of Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Garbine Muguruza, had three break points in the opening game of the second set but once Azarenka fended them off, she did not look back.

Azarenka won back-to-back Australian Open titles from 2012 and has reached the U.S. Open final twice, losing both to world number one Serena Williams.

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