Clijsters triumphs in Oz

Fourth Grand Slam title for Belgian

Last updated: 29th January 2011  

 Kim Clijsters

Clijsters: The Belgian sealing her three-set triumph

Na Li v Kim Clijsters 7

Li: Lost her composure and capitulated

Na Li v Kim Clijsters final 8

Clijsters: Levelled the scores in the second set

Na Li v Kim Clijsters 5

Li: Took the first set and looked in control

Kim Clijsters Australian Open trophy

Clijsters: Clinched her fourth grand slam title

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Kim Clijsters has clinched her first Australian Open with a three-set victory over China's Li Na in the final in Melbourne.

The Belgian hot-shot recovered from a set down to prevail 3-6 6-3 6-3 on Saturday after her Chinese opponent imploded on Rod Laver Arena.

Li was under pressure in the second set but took out her frustrations in typically wry fashion, as she relinquished the momentum she created in the first half of the match.

Third seed Clijsters, appearing in her eighth grand slam showpiece, shrugged off a listless start to crank up the pressure to break Li's serve at 3-3 in the second set in a tension-charged atmosphere on Rod Laver.

The 28-year-old Li crumbled spectacularly and marched to the chair at the change of ends to ask British umpire Alison Lang: "Can you tell the Chinese, don't teach me how to play tennis?"

Having dominated after overcoming a nervous start, triple US Open champion Clijsters marched to her fourth grand slam title in two hours and five minutes.

Sparked into life

The start of the match saw Clijsters come out of the traps the quicker, blasting an ace on the first point before breaking Li to love to charge into a 2-0 lead.

Ninth seed Li won her first point after losing the first eight and sparked into life, attacking Clijsters' serve with abandon and claiming the break back after the Belgian slapped a backhand wide.

Li saved two break points at 3-2 down and punished Clijsters in the next game, chasing down a weak volley by her opponent to earn two break points and then pressuring the Belgian into netting a backhand to take a 4-3 lead.

Clijsters blew another break point and belted a forehand wide to allow Li to hold serve and the Chinese star pressed home the advantage with an imperious crosscourt forehand that passed Clijsters at the net on her second set point.

Surrender

The second set saw both players surrender their serves in the opening four games, before Li finally held serve to lead 3-2 as Clijsters' groundstrokes continued to fail her.

But the Belgian stormed back in game six to hold and a change of tactics paid dividends as the world number three sealed three games on the spin to level the match.

Li, aiming to become China and Asia's first singles grand slam champion, looked like she was feeling the pressure as Clijsters took full advantage in the decider.

Li was broken early in the third set, but the 28-year-old refused to let her head drop and twice came through tricky serving encounters to make Clijsters serve it out for the championship.

The Belgian showed no fear in the ninth game of game of the set, racing to 40-0 lead to give herself three cracks at the title.

And it took just one as Li blasted a wild forehand to concede the match, as Clijsters shrieked and held her head in elation.

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Comments (2)

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Colin Sweet says...

Congatulations to both Kim Clijsters and Li Na for putting the WOMEN back into womens tennis,great match to watch highlighted by the lack of unecessary grunting and a high standard of dress sense, and please unlike others this not a sexist remark but a simple compliment.

Posted 18:14 29th January 2011

William george Tingle says...

go kim .li-na will win a slam in time to come.

Posted 10:57 29th January 2011

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