The 2011 Australian Open Women’s Singles Final was played on Saturday 29 January at 7:30pm on the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne between No.3 seed Kim Clijsters and No.9 seed Li Na. This best-of-three-sets match would determine who would win her first Australian Open singles title.
The 28-year-old Li defeated Clijsters in the lead-in event just prior to the Australian Open in straight sets after being 5-0 down in the 1st set to win the Sydney International. In the rematch Li dropped the first two games in just 4 minutes before she displayed her relentless fighting spirit that got her through to her first Grand Slam singles final. Li won 6 of the next 7 games to take the first set off the reigning US Open champion.
The name of the Australian Open women’s singles trophy is the Daphne Ackhurst Memorial Cup and metaphorically Li had just placed one hand on the cup. Li known in her interviews for how much she enjoys money and shopping now had one eye on the 2.2 million Australian dollar prize money cheque awarded to the winner.
Li is the first Asian player man or woman, to win through to a Grand Slam singles final would earn a career-high ranking of No.5 with the 2,000 WTA ranking points the winner earns. Li moved to a 3-2 lead in the second set by outplaying the 27-year-old former World No.1 through creating the plays and playing to win the points. Clijsters, a triple Grand Slam singles champion had to really raise her game to have a chance and much to the appreciation of the crowd took the match to a deciding final set.
Clijsters ended up winning 10 of the next 13 games from this point. However, throughout the remainder of the match the battle was very competitive and intense as the 29 break points they held against each other indicates. Many of the games could have gone either way. Li is pictured above during her service motion at the 2011 Hong Kong Tennis Classic reaching her greatest height as she did at the 2011 Australian Open.
The Belgian claimed her fourth Grand Slam title in 2 hours and five minutes 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in a very entertaining and intense final. Clijsters has now won 3 of the past 6 Grand Slam singles titles since coming out of retirement. Li ended up winning 1.1 million Australian dollars and earned 1,400 WTA ranking points as the runner-up.
A more in depth look at the final will be added to this post ASAP.
ALL of the 1st set details:
ALL of the 2nd set details:
ALL of the 3rd set details:
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