Venus Williams has become only the second woman to successfully defend her title at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, defeating fourth seed Victoria Azarenka in two sets.
The 6-3 7-5 victory meant that the American became the first woman after Justine Henin to pick up the trophy - and giant's share of the $2m prize purse - two years in a row.
"It was definitely very competitive," said Williams. "I expected her to come out and play very well... Even though I was leading in the second set, she just never gave up. So she played really well, and I'm obviously happy to close the tournament out."
Play at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, which is held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, continues with the ATP tournament from February 22nd.
Four-time former champion Roger Federer heads the field, fully fit after injury kept him from bidding for the title in 2009. He is set to be challenged by defending champion Novak Djokovic, Australian Open runner-up Andy Murray and Barclays ATP World Finals winner Nikolay Davydenko.
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