No. 3 seed Victoria Azarenka came out on top of a particularly strong field at the APIA International in Sydney, in the Friday final defeating No. 4 seed and reigning French Open champion Li Na of China 6-2, 1-6, 6-3.
Azarenka trailed Na 2-4 in their career head-to-heads entering the final. The Belarussian improved to 9-8 career in finals.
“It was really difficult,” Azarenka said. “I knew at some point I would get a chance, so I just had to stay with her and fight. I kept my composure. We showed some incredible tennis out there. Li Na, she’s always dangerous, and she proved it again today. I’m just glad I could overcome her and win this match.”
Azarenka says the match leaves her battle-ready for Melboune.
“The Australian Open is going to be a new week, a new tournament, so for me it’s going to be starting from zero,” Azarenka said. “I’m glad the way I got through some tough battles here in Sydney, so I really tested myself before a big event. I’m going to keep going to same way with the same attitude, the same way I’m playing.”
World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki lost in the quarterfinals, and No. 2 Petra Kvitova in the semifinals to Na.
It was the ninth career title for Azarenka, and Na fell to 5-6 in career finals, her first final since the 2011 French Open.
“I don’t think anything went wrong,” Na said. “I think it was a very good final. There’s nothing to worry about. We were showing our best tennis. And my tennis is much, much better than the last half year — but it’s still step by step.”
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