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Li Na shocks Clijsters to win Sydney Int'l

01-15-2011 08:26 BJT

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Chinese trailblazer Li Na is emerging as a serious threat to win the Australian Open. She would need a dramatic comeback to beat top-seeded Kim Clijsters at the Sydney International.

Li Na went into the match with only one win in five tries against the three-time U-S Open champ from Belgium. Clijsters got off to a confident start. She only took 18 minutes to rack up a 5-love lead in the first set. But then, her game fell apart.

Li played her way back into the set after Clijsters fumbled an uncharacteristic three double-faults in a row. Li roared back on the scoreboard and tied things up. The Chinese ace kept her cool and seized the first set 7-6.

Clijsters recovered her composure at the start of the second set, but the 8th seeded Li met the challenge in style. She took advantage of more key mistakes from the favorite. Clijsters finished with seven double faults and 27 unforced errors during a dramatic turnaround. Li claimed her first top event title 7-6, 6-3 in Sydney.

Li Na might face an easy road in the upcoming Australian Open. She was drawn in the same bracket with Victoria Azarenka and Venus Williams. They are the weakest among the first four and first eight-ranked players. It means Li has a good chance to reach the quarterfinal round in the first Grand Slam of the year.



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