Venus turns back Azarenka in final

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates -- Venus Williams successfully defended her Dubai Championships title on Saturday, beating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 7-5 in the final.

Williams broke Azarenka a third time at 5-5 in the second set and served out for her 42nd singles title on the WTA Tour.

Unlike last year, Williams didn't lose a set, and in the final she lost her serve only once to Azarenka, ranked No. 6, one spot behind Williams.

The American served well, hitting seven aces and winning 80 percent of her first serves.

A break for 4-2 sealed the first set for Williams, who'd beaten Azarenka at the Beijing Olympics before the Belarus star became a top-10 player.

Azarenka, looking for her fourth title in less than 12 months, broke Williams to even the second set at 3-3, but Williams got her back at the end.

"It was definitely very competitive," Williams said. "I expected her to come out and play very well. I respect her game. Just the effort that she gives it. Even though I was leading in the second set, she just never gave up. She played really well and I am obviously happy to close the tournament out."

Azarenka was looking for her fourth title in less than 12 months.

"It was hard," she said. "Venus came off with some big shots. Just, you know, a little bit of bad luck on a few balls. But I'm proud of what I did today."

Though the 29-year-old Williams is nine years older Azarenka, she said age made no difference.

"Obviously, I have an experience advantage over most of the players I play. But I just don't think of it the same way as you [reporter]," she said.

"You guys are on the sidelines looking at the stats, looking at the numbers. I'm out there preparing my game. I'm thinking about how am I going to execute my serve. If I'm making this mistake, how do I correct it? So, I'm not thinking about anyone's age."