Australian Open: Clijsters beats Li for title
Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 29, 2011
MELBOURNE, Australia ó Kim Clijsters believes sheís now earned the nickname she had for years in Australia.
ěI finally feel like you guys can call me ëAussie Kimí because I won the title,î a teary Clijsters said after beating Chinaís Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 Saturday to capture her first Australian Open. ěItís nice to finally get it this year.î
Clijsters lost the 2004 Australian Open final to Justine Henin and lost four times in the semifinals. This was Clijstersí fourth Grand Slam tournament championship, but the first apart from the U.S. Open.
ěTo win it in this way means a lot,î she told a TV interviewer after the match. ěThis one to me, is the one. When I think back on my childhood, I remember watching the Australian Open and seeing Monica Seles win many times. I think they used to go up into the stands. I remember her doing her speech there, and it was something that I was just amazed by. It seemed like such a fairy tale.î
Li was trying to become the first Asian to win a major, and the final was far from a smooth ride. She complained to the chair umpire about the Chinese fans and was bothered by photographersí flashes in the courtside pits. The outbursts from all over the arena were jarring.
ěThey shouted ëfinish her off!í sometimes even when we were hitting the ball,î Li said through a translator. ěI thought, ëHow can they do this?íî
In doubles, Bob and Mike Bryan successfully defended their title, beating Indian stars Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi 6-3, 6-4 for their fifth Australian crown and 10th Grand Slam championship.
The Bryans have held the No. 1 doubles ranking the past eight years. They have also won the U.S Open three times and the French Open and Wimbledon once each.
Today, Andy Murray hopes to win his first major and end an almost 75-year drought for British men at the majors. He meets No. 3 Novak Djokovic in Sundayís final. Djokovic leads their head-to-heads 4-3, but has lost the last three. Djokovic is the favorite and won in Australia in 2008 ó the last time neither No. 1 Rafael Nadal nor No. 2 Roger Federer was in the final.