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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Li may have won the hearts of Aussie tennis fans, but "Aussie Kim" comes out top in Final.

Kim Clijsters claimed the richest purse in women's tennis history after denying Chinese trailblazer Li Na in a riveting Australian Open final on Saturday night.

Clijsters pocketed a monster cheque for $2.2 million after out-willing Asia's first-ever grand slam singles finalist for a stirring 3-6 6-3 6-3 comeback win at Melbourne Park.

The 27-year-old Belgian also became the first mother to reign in Australia since Evonne Goolagong Cawley in 1977 and first woman to snare back-to-back grand slam crowns since Serena Williams completed the same US Open-Australian Open double in 2008-09.

The two-hour, five-minute victory - in what was only the second grand slam final to go the distance in the past four-and-a-half years - handed third-seeded Clijsters her fourth career major in total and 41st title overall.

Li had toppled Clijsters in the Sydney International final in straight sets two weeks ago and, riding an 11-match winning streak, looked poised to spring another major upset after powering to a set and 3-2 lead.

Clijsters, though, refused to yield and eventually weighed Li down with her relentless and at-times remarkable retrieving from the back of the court.
Playing possibly her last Australian Open, Clijsters had not dropped a set all tournament in reaching the title match for a second time.

But the 2004 runner-up had no answer to Li's awesome firepower in the first set-and-a-half.

Contesting her eighth grand slam final, Clijsters made a confident enough start, winning the first eight points of the match for a 2-0 lead.

Stunningly, though, Li won six of the next seven games to snatch the first set in 38 minutes.

Mixing scorching groundstrokes with crazy angles, Li continued to crunch cold winner after cold winner as she threatened to become - at 28 years and 11 months - the fifth-oldest women's grand slam champion of the 43-year open era.

But as she closed in on a famous, landmark triumph, Li began to falter - just as her vastly experienced opponent raised her game.

From 3-2 down, the tennis supermum peeled off six straight games to seize the second set and surge ahead 2-0 in the third.

Li broke back for 2-1 but her revival was brief, the triple US Open champion winning the next two games to take a stranglehold on the match.

China's ninth seed held serve for 3-5, but Clijsters also kept her nerve to coolly close out the contest to love when Li fired a forehand long on the Belgian's first championship point.
Her breakthrough triumph in Australia for Lleyton Hewitt's one-time fiancee - affectionately known Down Under as "Aussie Kim" - reduced Clijsters to tears.

"I finally feel like you guys can call me 'Aussie Kim' because I won the title," the popular winner said in her victory speech.

"To the fans, thank you so much, not just here in Melbourne.

"I've been coming to Australia for many years and you guys have been amazing.

"Even when things weren't going so well, you guys have been supportive ... it helped me keep fighting and get the title today."

Li was gracious in defeat, congratulating Clijsters on her successful campaign before expressing special thanks to her husband - former Chinese Davis Cup player Jiang Shan, who took over as coach late last year when she split with Swede Thomas Hogstedt.

"I've made many jokes about my husband," Li said.

"But it doesn't matter if you are fat or skinny, handsome or ugly, I will always follow you, always love you.

"Also for myself, doesn't matter today if I win or lose because I tried my best at tennis already."
In defeat, Li took home a consolation prize of $1.1 million - more than enough for retail therapy for the self-confessed shop-aholic.

And time for some more final photo's!

Kim Clijsters serves during the 2011 Australian Open Final

Some Chinese tennis fans, rooting for Li Na

Gracious, and funny in defeat, Li Na

The loving Kim Clijsters poses with Ball Boys and Girls

Kim Clijsters reacts after wining her first Australian Open title

Kim Clijsters understandably emotional in her first Grand Slam victory outside Flushing Medows

16 comments:

caps321 said...

Any thoughts on Serena & Venus' momma ripping Clijsters on twitter? If I had to guess, its probably due to the fact that Kimmie spanked Serena at the US Open.

Think about that for a minute. Why else would Ms. Price wanna start some static? I seriously doubt Clijsters will have anything to say about her crap.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I think it was pretty rude, and inappropriate to say. I was going to make a post about it, but its not really worthy of that. She did call Kim "Dubious" and then, a follower oh hers asked is she meant Justine! I wonder if she even knew who was playing!

Ms. Price's comments would be driven through a combination of the US Open match and the fact neither of her daughter's were in the final! Just a stupid comment driven in jealousy.

caps321 said...

Thanks!

Being a Clijsters groupie, I thought my opinion might be biased.. So, just wondered what you and everyone else thought about it.

The match came on around 3am Eastern time so I was fast asleep. I watched ESPN2's coverage and wasn't very happy. They showed the first set but picked up the second at 3-3 and the third at 0-1. Plus they didn't even show the on court presentation and instead had Kim on the set.

I don't have Tennis Channel anymore but do have access to ESPN360. So, guess I could go back and watch the live "replay" assuming its not edited as well!

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I mean I am a Serena fan, but even I can see the comments were inappropriate! How ever I'm a Kim fan too :P

That's very bad coverage! In Australia, on the odd chance we get matches televised we get the whole ting live! Ahaha, I just often complain about commentators! That is very poor coverage! And to not show the on court presentation! That's bad, its not even that long, just 5 minutes! Surely they should have been able to watch that!

Well hopefully for your sake the replay is not edited!

caps321 said...

Just to add, the coverage I'm talking about was the replay on ESPN2 at 9am Eastern. It was live at 3am and I'm sure they showed the entire match. Although, when Kim won the US Open last year, CBS didn't broadcast the presentation either!

Carlos said...

Caps321: Thanks for the head up. I checked the comments they were cheap shots, unwarranted remarks.

I wouldn't consider myself a Kim fan or both Serena/Venus fan. I try to call it as I see it. In order for Kim to win AO 11 it took her: The easiest draw on the tournament, face a returning from injury Aggie, her favorite choking Russian in the semis, an inexperiece opponent in grand slam finals, and her top rival out of the AO 11 with injury. Nevertheless she won another "Ring of Hell", congrats to her.

It is not the first time the Wlliams family been in a war of words. Hingis vs. Richard. After a bump incident on court, Venus call her opponent,"A big white ugly turkey", in the press conferece preceeding the match. Haha I still find it hilarious. Serena did not hide the fact that she didn't like Aranxa Sanchez-Vicario. There are situations in life that silence speak louder than words.

caps321 said...

I really like Aggie as well. However, Kim is in another league than her. Of course, if Kim goes off the track, basically anyone could beat her.

IMO, Aggie's game is a lot like the Wozniacki's. (Although Aggie has her beat at the net all day every day.)

Concerning Vera -- She needs better footwork, period. And of course the choking doesn't help either!

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

The tennis God's favored Kim immensely these past two weeks! Know she has another "Ring of Hell" but I think the final two will elude her, for the rest of her time on tour!

I loved the Hingis vs Williams "war of the words" I always have loved some drama on the court, and off it! Venus had an attitude when she was younger but seemed to sort it all out when she got older, Serena, too my joy, still never strays shy on controversy! Im not familiar with the Serena and Arantxa story, but also she, like me, makes her dislike for Henin very public too!

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

Caps321, I have always have a soft spot for Aggie, and agree she is similar in game play to Wozniacki, but is head and shoulders above her at the net.

Vera, needs a sports psychologist first of all, then she can work on her foot work!

Carlos said...

I remember when Hingis showed up at a Richard Williams' press conference with a T-Shirt tying to end the feud. A couple of days later the war of began once again.

Captain, the Sanchez-Vicario/Serena situation I found that out by luck. Early in Serena's career when she began to take notice, I happened to stumble upon a piece done by ESPN. This was by luck because I was switching channels, the report was probably half way through. There was a highlight of a Serena match against Sanchez-Vicario in which Serena intentionally shot the ball at Sanchez-Vicario who was approaching the net. I could hear in the background the narrators say, "Serena could had place the ball any where on court, but where did choose to put it? Right at Sanchez-Vicario". The ESPN reporter asked Serena about that incident and she said, "I knew you were going to ask me that!" and then she said, "I just don't like her". To this day I don't know why she didn't like Sanchez-Vicario or if she still does. My guess is that it must have been a lock room incident.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I wasn't aware that had happened at all! It's almost like the 2009 Roland Garros incident with MJMS! Except, different! I still remember the match with Serena and MJMS very well, and it has ALOT of drama! MJMS not admitting it hit her hand, Seren'a side line comments like "she better not come to the net again", Serena putting her hand up to stop MJMS from serving and of course Serena nearly dying from having a coughing fit!

Maybe Serena and Spaniards just don't get along!

Carlos said...

Ptobably she doesn't, Captain.

Did you see the women's doubles match? The match resemble "The Big Stuffed Bunny's" semifinal match, a melt down from Azarenka and a big choke from both The Princess/Azarenka. Credit Dulko/Pennetta who figured out how to beat their opponents.

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I see the women's doubles match, in fact I attend! I had quite an experience, I was with a friend and we had the best time, with the most hilarious men sitting behind us! Ahaha.

It was a massive choke from the Azarenka/Princess team! It was quite funny how they stopped talking to each other basically! It started as Azarenka being to most dominate player on court, the she got nervous, The Princess had to carry her through the rest of the match, and Dulko/Pennnetta took advantage of the situation on the other side of the net!

I must say The Princess was rocking those watermelon shorts!

Carlos said...

Captain you attended to every match possible. Is good to hear you had a great time! :)

I thought the match went down hill for the Princess/Azarenka, when Azarenka lost her cool and kicked the ad sign on the back. I heard from shady sources that the ad sign plans to sue Azarenka.:P This is how I saw the match, Penetta/Dulko picked on Azarenka for the set until they got down 1-4 in the second; then started to pick on The Princess. You are right Captain, Azarenka gave up. There were moments on the first set that The Princess looked like an ornament everything was directed to Azarenka. I thought the outfit change was unnecessary, it reeked of desperation. The more the match progressed the more I found myself rooting for Pennetta/Dulko.

Yes, The Princess rocked those shorts! ;)

Pennetta's encounter with the ad sign was scary yet at the same time funny. The same shady sources tell me that this particular sign wants money being placed in a dangerous place and being injured. I totally think the ad sign is faking the injury. :P

I had no choice but to watch this match online. I knew that something was going wrong with the feed. I heard the door bell and it was my sister she asked me what was I watching and I told her the doubles final. She even asked who was the one wearing pink, I told her it was Azarenka. It was all fine until the feed froze at grand slam championship point. I was laughing and told my sister that the feed froze. She was surprised, "Are You serious". I clicked out and clicked again I only could hear the sound and the commentators. Once I got the image match over. To be honest I find it comical, don't ask me why but I don't get frustrated or angry. If it would had happened when I was younger I would had thrown a fit.

BTW how often you checked your email? :P

Emily or as Carlos likes to call me "Captain" said...

I attended most matches, and found my self running around Melbourne Park like a crazy woman most the time! Ahahaha! And ohh I had a great time! My friend I attend with, and the guys sitting behind us, are like BFFL's now! Ahahahaaha. :)

That turned the match, after they saw her frustration, also before she kicked the sign she hit the most amazing lobs, after, could hardly get it right! Ahahaha, the sign has good reason to sue! I would too! I was always rooting for Azarenka/Princess I could never see it any other way, possibly my new favorite doubles team!

Oh yeah she did! And my new Best Friends agree whole heartedly with you! Hahaha. :P

Oh yeah, that sign looked pretty suspect from the start! the "injury" was such a ploy to try and win over the crowed with sympathy! luckily I'm way to smart for that sign!

Again, more troubles with online streaming! This is why I never watch it, because I would get frustrated! Unfortunately, I don't think it will change as I get older!

I didn't check it yesterday, but did just then! I will have to reply when I get back home as I am on my phone right now, and my phone has decided to stop letting me send emails from it! :\

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