World number one Serena Williams has made a successful defence of her Brisbane International title after beating Victoria Azarenka in the final on Saturday and stamping herself as favourite for the Australian Open.
The win was Williams' 14th over the Belarussian in 17 meetings, and stamps her as the player to beat in Melbourne later this month.
According to Sport24, the US tennis ace won a close first set then edged Azarenka in the second to win 6-4, 7-5 in 98 minutes, despite losing her serve twice in the second, with her powerful serve proving the main difference between the world's two top players.
However, Williams, who lost only four matches in 2011 on her way to winning 11 titles, including two Grand Slams, admitted that the win over Azarenka in Brisbane would count for little if they were to meet in the Australian Open final.
Williams regained her number one ranking eight weeks into 2013 in a year that also included a winning streak of 34 consecutive matches, the report added.