Victoria Azarenka upset world number one Serena Williams to claim the BNP Paribas Open title in Indian Wells.
The 2012 champion took advantage of the American’s wayward serve and erratic ground shots to earn a 6-4 6-4 win.
In the men’s final, Serbia’s Novak Djokovic beat Milos Raonic of Canada 6-2 6-0 to secure his 27th Masters title.
Before Sunday’s matches, tournament chief Raymond Moore caused controversy when he claimed the women’s tour “ride on the coat-tails of the men”.
Williams’ slow start
Serena Williams was playing in only her second tournament since the US Open in September
Williams was hoping to be the first female player to win three Indian Wells titles after taking a self-imposed 14-year exile from the event amidst allegations of racial abuse from fans after sister Venus withdrew minutes before their semi-final in 2001.
The emotion of the occasion was obvious in a tearful speech after the match when she told the crowd that their cheers “meant a lot to me”.
She had made a nervous start to the match, dropping an opening service game that included three double faults.
Azarenka showed composure and steely defence under a barrage of fierce hitting from Williams, who committed 33 unforced errors.
The two-time Australian Open champion served out the first set to love as she established control.
Azarenka holds off Williams fightback
Victoria Azarenka won the Australian Open in 2012 and 2013 but has been plagued by injuries in recent years
Williams’ troubles intensified when she dropped her first service game of the second, then failed to take any of four break points in the next game to trail 2-0.
When she dropped serve again, Williams could not hide her frustration and was given a code violation and then a point penalty after smashing one racket and another when it was still in its wrapper.
But Williams is never more dangerous than when she is down and finally converted her first break point at the 10th attempt for 5-3, then held her serve to raise the pressure on Azarenka.
It looked like Williams would level at 5-5 but missed two more break points while Azarenka held her nerve to take her 19th WTA Tour title, which means she will be back in the top 10 of the world rankings on Monday.
It was only the fourth time the 26-year-old Belarusian had beaten 34-year-old Williams in 21 meetings