Clijsters downs Li to clinch Australian Open title

The Belgian wins her maiden Australian Open against Li Na.

Afp January 30, 2011

MELBOURNE: Belgium’s Kim Clijsters came from a set down to beat Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and win her maiden Australian Open title, dashing Chinese hopes of a first ever Grand Slam win.

After a shaky first set, threetime US Open-winner Clijsters fought her way back in a thrilling final in front of 15, 000 fans at Rod Laver Arena.

“I finally feel like you guys can call me ‘Aussie Kim’ because I won the title, ” Clijsters told her Australian fans.

Clijsters, who claimed her fourth Grand Slam title, went into the tournament as the firm favourite but was made to battle all the way by Li, who was hoping to complete her own fairytale by becoming the first Chinese – or Asian – player to win a Grand Slam.

“Li and I have played some amazing matches over a number of years – she’s a tough competitor, ” said Clijsters.

Despite looking the likely winner in the first set, Li faded in the third and became increasingly agitated as the match slipped away, complaining about comments and flash photography from the crowd.

“Tell the Chinese fans, don’t teach me how to play tennis, ” she fumed to the chair umpire, after being broken in the second set.

Li is projected to reach a career- best world number seven in next week’s rankings, while Clijsters will rise to second behind Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

Final is frontier for Djokovic, Murray

Andy Murray hopes to end Britain’s 75-year Grand Slam drought against Novak Djokovic at the Australian Open today, the first major final without Rafael Nadal or Roger Federer for three years.

Murray is aiming to become the first British man to win a Grand Slam since Fred Perry in 1936, while Serbian Djokovic is favourite to claim his second Slam crown. Djokovic, who leads 4-3 in their matches, goes in as favourite after his convincing straight-sets win over Federer.

“We practice a lot together, we’re good friends. So in terms of a rivalry, I think this will be the start of us playing each other in big matches, ” said Murray.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 30th,  2011.


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