INDIAN WELLS - Victoria Azarenka stunned world number one Serena Williams 6-4, 6-4 on Sunday to capture her second Indian Wells crown and a 19th career singles title.

Azarenka blasted five aces while Williams was undone by 33 unforced errors and five double faults in the 88-minute championship of the joint WTA and ATP Tour hardcourt event. "Definitely not the game plan," Williams said. "I think I probably was trying to hit through nerves. "I was talking to Patrick (Mouratoglou, her coach) and he said he's never seen me play that flat." Azarenka, a former world number one now ranked 15th after battling injuries, has been a thorn in the side of Williams over the years and she became the first player to deny the 34-year-old Williams a trophy on four occasions. Heading into the contest Azarenka and Serena's sister, Venus, were the only players to have beaten Williams three times in finals.

The 13th seeded Azarenka also thwarted Williams' bid to become the first three-time winner of the Indian Wells women's title. Azarenka got two early breaks at the beginning of both sets against Williams before closing out the match in front of a crowd of about 15,000 on the main stadium court when Williams sailed yet another forehand long.

Azarenka held serve in the first set to take a 2-0 lead that the erratic American couldn't dent. Williams even got caught standing still and admiring a shot at game point in the eighth game, allowing Azarenka to hit a slow forehand winner into the open court.

Out of sorts to start the second set, Williams quickly found herself in an 0-3 hole, smashing her racquet on the ground after dropping serve in the third game before tossing it backwards over her shoulder. She briefly came to life to regain one break, but was unable to mount a charge.

Azarenka duly served out the match, adding a second title to the Indian Wells crown she captured in 2012 and earning $1.02 million for the victory. "Feels good just to see the work that I have put in and it's paying off," Azarenka said. "Just everything that I have been through in the last years, it makes it more special. "I was more aggressive. I started to use my serve the way I wanted to use my serve. "Having that big goal in mind and going after it, that's something that makes the momentum shift on the big stages."

With the victory Azarenka will also return to the top 10 in the world for the first time since 2014, moving up to number eight. Runner-up Williams collected $500,000. But she was unable to close the book on the darkest chapter in her tennis career which took place when she beat Kim Clijsters in the 2001 Indian Wells final.

Last year's semi-final injury withdrawal cut short Williams' first Indian Wells campaign since the Clijsters' match, when spectators booed her during the final and jeered her sister, Venus, and father Richard Williams after the pair arrived to watch the match. Richard Williams said he heard racial comments. That sparked a lengthy boycott by both Williams sisters with Serena returning in 2015 and Venus making her long-awaited return this year but losing to a qualifier in her opening match.

"Obviously the last time I was there (in the final) was probably the worst moment of my whole career. Not probably. Sure," Williams said. "To be back out there, which I never thought I would be, you know, was really different and special."

Serena slams Indian Wells boss for 'women riding men's coattails' remark:

Serena Williams ripped "offensive" remarks by Indian Wells tournament director Raymond Moore, who claimed women's tennis was riding on the coattails of the men's game.

"If I was a lady player, I'd go down every night on my knees and thank God that Roger Federer and Rafa Nadal were born, because they have carried this sport," Moore, a 69-year-old former player from South Africa, told reporters as his annual state of the tournament press conference on Sunday morning.

Not surprisingly, 21-time Grand Slam champion Williams was scathing in her response. "Obviously, I don't think any woman should be down on their knees thanking anybody like that," Williams said. "If I could tell you every day how many people say they don't watch tennis unless they're watching myself or my sister, I couldn't even bring up that number," Williams said.

Williams said she quickly became aware of Moore's remarks via social media, even though she was busy Sunday morning preparing to meet Victoria Azarenka in the women's final, which the Belarusian won in straight sets.

A swift backlash to Moore's comments, which also included remarks on the physical attractiveness of some of the WTA's rising stars, had him issuing an apology even before the men's Masters final between Novak Djokovic and Milos Raonic was completed. "At my morning breakfast with the media, I made comments about the WTA that were in extremely poor taste and erroneous," Moore said in a statement. "I am truly sorry for those remarks, and apologize to all the players and WTA as a whole. "We had a women's final today that reflects the strength of the players, especially Serena and Victoria, and the entire WTA. Again, I am truly sorry for my remarks."

But Williams said there was no mistaking their meaning. "You know, there's only one way to interpret that," she said. "Get on your knees, which is offensive enough, and thank a man ... we, as women, have come a long way. We shouldn't have to drop to our knees at any point."

Williams acknowledged that she was surprised to find gender-related controversy continuing to crop up in a sport that has pioneered equal compensation for women competitors -- sometimes over the objections of their male counterparts. "Last year the women's final at the US Open sold out well before the men. I'm sorry, did Roger play in that final or Rafa or any man play in that final that was sold out before the men's final? I think not."

Williams invoked US great Billie Jean King, a tireless promoter of equal opportunity for women in sport and beyond. "I feel like that is such a disservice to her and every female, not only a female athlete but every woman on this planet, that has ever tried to stand up for what they believed in and being proud to be a woman."

Azarenka said men rarely find themselves the subject of insulting remarks -- whether they were intended as such or not. "I think it's something that we have to work through as women," she said. "Men don't get those comments.

"I think it's still a problem in the world," Azarenka added. "It's not just in sports. It's in business. We try to talk about the equality. Sometimes it just gets unrecognized."

Azarenka, too, referred to King, who responded herself on Twitter saying she was "disappointed" in Moore's comments. "He is wrong on so many levels," King wrote.