Kim Clijsters denied China’s Li Na a first-ever Grand Slam title for an Asian man or woman Saturday in the final at the Australian Open, defeating the No. 9 seed 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 for the Belgian’s first-ever Australian Open title.
It’s was a turn-around from weeks ago in the WTA Sydney final when Li beat Clijsters in straight sets.
Li battered winners in the opening set, putting Clijsters on the defense to win the first after the Belgian was up an early break. After trading breaks early in the second set, Clijsters won six straights games to win the second set and take a 2-0 lead into the third. From there on Clijsters held her position for her fourth Grand Slam title following three at the US Open, and improved to 4-4 in Slam finals.
“I finally feel like you guys can call me Aussie Kim, because I won the title,” Clijsters told the crowd after the match. Clijsters picked up the nickname Aussie Kim when she used to date Australian former No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt. “I’ve been coming here for many years and you guys have always been amazing. I really appreciate it. It helps so much when you’re fighting to win the title.”
Li will move back into the Top 10 at a new career-high No.7 ranking. Clijsters will rise from 3 to No. 2.
“First of course have congratulations for Kim, and also best of luck for the rest of the season,” Li said. “Thanks for the sponsor, and two thing, the guy in the yellow t-shirt, I make a lot of jokes for him, doesn’t matter if you are fat or skinny or handsome or ugly, I always follow you, I always love you. I wish everyone happy Chinese New year, all the best, see you next year.”
Clijsters also had her favorite outfits during the fortnight.
“My uncle was wearing the ugliest green pants that I’ve ever seen, and I won, so I’m superstitious, so if you come you’re going to have to wear them every time, so those green pants have brought me a little bit of luck,” Clijsters said. “I would like to thank my coach Wim, it’s a pleasure to be living all these dreams together now. The guy I swear at the most, my fitness trainer, he puts me through so much pain, this is the reason why, Sam thank you very much for everything. My manager Bob, he’s one of our closest friends, so thank you everything that you do for us, not just for me but my family. Of course my husband Brian, he’s the rock behind me.”
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