Kim Clijsters

January 29, 2011 by staff 

Kim Clijsters, (AFP) – Kim Clijsters Belgium come together to fight a Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 and win her maiden Australian Open title Saturday, dashing Chinese hopes of a first Grand Slam win.

After a weak first set, Clijsters three times U.S. Open winner, fought her return in a thrilling final in front of 15,000 spectators at Rod Laver Arena, including a Chinese contingent vote.

“I finally feel like you guys can call me” Aussie Kim “because I won the title,” Clijsters told her Australian fans, which gave him the nickname when she was engaged to Lleyton Hewitt.

Clijsters the 27-year-old won her fourth Grand Slam title and her third since the end of a long career break to give birth to her daughter, Jada. She is now considering reducing its schedule again.

Clijsters went into the tournament as the favorite, but was made to battle all the way by Li, who hoped to end her own fairytale by becoming the first Chinese player – to win a Grand Slam tournament – or Asian.

Li and I played some incredible games a number of years – it is a hard competitor, “said Clijsters. “It was a great effort to share these two weeks and hopefully we can play many more Grand Slam finals in the future.”

Li had been on the cover of many major newspapers in China as most populous country in the world turned to the 28 years from Wuhan to create a piece of tennis history.

But despite looking the likely winner in the first set, Li faded in the third and becomes increasingly agitated as the match escaped complain about comments and flash photography from the crowd.

“Tell the Chinese (the fans) do not teach me to play tennis, she smoked the chair umpire after being broken in the second set.

Clijsters had opened in a style as she won the first eight points of the match, but once installed and Li found her range with her groundstokes dominant, and especially her forehand, she took control consistently.

She broke Clijsters three times in the first set as she repeatedly forced her opponent on the defensive, with power and precision of her shots.

Clijsters has tried to stay with her, but every time the pair toe-to-toe in the baseline, Li always had the upper hand.

“(The first series) was going too fast for me,” Clijsters said. “She did everything so well, she hit on both sides, forehand and backhand, and it served well.”

But after convincingly winning the first set, Li began to struggle on her serve and Clijsters took her chance to drag their way back, to change tactics by taking much of the pace of the ball.

Li tried to counter by hitting harder, but only managed to increase its number of errors and delivery points Clijsters at low prices.

“I tried to serve a little better, to slow down and put spin on it, and I tried to loop a few balls,” said Clijsters. “She missed some of them and I saw that made her nervous. ”

The Belgian was Li four times in the second set and twice in third to complete a final tense 2h 5min, immediately bursting into tears as she realized what she had achieved.

Clijsters is now back-to-back Grand Slam titles after also winning the U.S. Open last year.

Meanwhile Li, 28, is happy to become the first player from China to reach a grand final in singles, which made her a superstar overnight and saw her report to idolized basketball player Yao Ming and hurdler Liu Xiang.

“It does not matter if I won or lost today,” Li said. “I played my best tennis.”

Li, whose stories of her husband snores and shopping trips have delighted fans in Australia, also reached last year in Australia in the semifinals before being defeated by eventual winner Serena Williams Open.

It should achieve a number of seven career World rankings next week, while Clijsters will move to second behind Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki.

Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved.

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