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Tennis from Australia, and an early tournament finals appearance for China's Li Na. She would look for back-to-back titles at the Sydney International on Friday night, with challenger Victoria Azarenka standing in her way.
Li had met Azarenka six times before, and enjoyed a 4-win, 2-loss record against her rival. Azarenka owned the last match between the two, at last year’s WTA finals.
Li Na of China plays a backhand shot in the women's final against Victoria Azarenka of Belarus at the Sydney International tennis tournament in Sydney, Australia, Friday, Jan. 13, 2012. [Photo/CNTV]
Li Na suffered a straight sets defeat then, and had a chance to turn the tables in Sydney for the tournament championship. Both players made good starts, but Azarenka was the first to find a break point. She enjoyed a 1-game edge in the first set, but Li Na immediately broke back to bring the set even again. Li would go on to make a series of errors from the baseline to fall behind 3-1. Azarneka stayed on target, and grabbed the 1st set, 6-2.
Li Na received some guidance from her husband and coach Jiang Shan during the break, and made a winning adjustment for the second set. She dominated the first service game at love, and went on to a 4-1 advantage. A groundstroke error from Azarenka gave Li the 2nd set 6-1...and the title match would go to a decider.
Li broke serve at the start of the third set, but Azarenka came back to grab a 2-games-to-1 lead. Li used a backhand to tie it at 2-all. Then the set went on-serve, all the way to the crucial 7th game. An Azarenka forehand made it 4-3 for the challenger, and it marked the turning point. Li began to make more mistakes and lost her next service game.
The set would finally go to Azarenka 6-3. Li Na ended the tournament as runner-up at Sydney.