Azarenka secures back-to-back Australian titles



DENNIS PASSA | AP

Published — Saturday 26 January 2013

Last update 27 January 2013 4:14 am

| نسخة PDF Print News | A A

MELBOURNE: Victoria Azarenka overcome an often hostile crowd to win back-to-back Australian Open titles, beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in a dramatic final yesterday that contained a break for fireworks, two medical timeouts and a nasty fall to the court by Li.
The Chinese star first tumbled to the court after twisting her left ankle, and had it taped after falling in the fifth game of the second set.
On the first point after a 10-minute pause in the third set while fireworks boomed overhead from nearby Australia Day celebrations, Li fell over again and slammed the back of her head into the court.
The 2011 French Open champion was treated immediately by a tournament doctor and had another time out before being allowed to resume the match. The second incident didn’t appear to affect Li’s movement.
Azarenka, who broke down in tears and sobbed into her towel when the match ended, won four of the next six games to claim her second major title and retain the No. 1 ranking.
“Unfortunately, you have to go through some rough patches to achieve great things. That’s what makes it so special for me,” she said. “I went through that, and I’m still able to kiss that beautiful trophy.” The win meant that Azarenka will maintain top spot and Serena Williams, who lost in the quarterfinals, will become the new No. 2 in the rankings.
On a crisp Saturday night, Azarenka won the coin toss and elected to receive, a ploy that seemed to work when a nervous Li was broken to start the match. After a double fault on the first point, Li’s forehand long gave Azarenka the early lead.
The 2-hour, 40-minute match featured 16 service breaks, with Li losing her service nine times.
When she first injured her ankle, Li was trailing 3-1 in the second set. When she came back, she won three of the next four games to level the set at 4-4, but Azarenka broke back and then her serve to level the match.
Azarenka broke in the opening game of the final set, just two games before the match was suspended for the fireworks, a planned stoppage of play that both players were notified about before the match.
While Azarenka jogged around and practiced her serving motion during the 10-minute fireworks break, Li sat on her courtside chair for most of the stoppage.
It was on the first point that she again fell to the court.
Li said she went “totally black” for two seconds after her head hit the court, and when a medical official asked her to follow her finger “I started laughing, thinking ‘This is a tennis court, not like a hospital.” Li said the tournament doctor saw here after the match and checked out her head and neck.
“I should be OK,’ Li said.
From the outset, the capacity crowd at Rod Laver Arena was firmly behind Li, cheering loudly when she was introduced. Azarenka, meanwhile, had her errors applauded, and one spectator even mocked the loud hooting sound she makes when she hits a shot.
The chill from the crowd was a remnant of Azarenka’s semifinal win over American teenager Sloane Stephens, when Azeranka was criticized for taking a questionable 10-minute medical time out near the end of the match. She was accused of taking the time out to compose herself after she’d wasted five match points while serving for the match against Stephens, although Azarenka said she needed the time out because a rib injury was making it difficult for her to breathe.
In the second set yesterday, a few fans heckled Azarenka over the incident. One man yelled, “Take a deep breath, Vicky.” By the end of the match, she appeared to have won some of the fans back. Azarenka’s friend, rapper Redfoo, yelled down to her from the player box “You deserve it,” and she later blew kisses to the crowd. Someone else in the crowd shouted “Victoria, we love you.” Azarekna appeared to quickly forgive the crowd, saying during the trophy presentations that she wanted to thank the fans for their support.
“I will always keep very special memories of this court and it will be in my heart forever,” she said, pausing several times to find the right words. “Of course, I (almost) forgot to say congratulations to Li Na, she’s had a terrific start to the year ... hope to see you in many, many more finals.” Azarenka and Li had met twice before in Grand Slam tournaments, with Li winning both times — in the fourth round of the 2011 Australian Open and quarterfinals at the French Open. Li lost the 2011 Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters but won her first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros a few months later, beating Francesca Schiavone.
But after failing to advance past the fourth round at any major in 2012, Li hired Carlos Rodriguez, Justine Henin’s former coach. The hard training he’s put her through in the past four months appears to be paying dividends.
Li won a WTA tournament in China before traveling to Australia, where she advanced to the semifinals at the Sydney International.
In the other final today to end the year’s first Grand Slam, the unseeded pairs of Jarmila Gajdosova and Matthew Ebden of Australia and the Czech Republic’s Lucie Hradecka and Frantisek Cermak play for the mixed doubles championship.
Bryans triumph
Mike and Bob Bryan have captured their record 13th Grand Slam doubles title, defeating the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in the Australian Open final 6-3, 6-4 yesterday.
The Americans had been level with the Australian legends John Newcombe and Tony Roche with 12 major titles.
The Bryans now have six Australian Open titles to go along with four at the US Open, two at Wimbledon and one at the French Open.
The brothers, top seeds at Melbourne Park, have also finished eight of the last 10 years as the No. 1 ranked doubles team, including last year.
Haase and Sijsling were playing in their first Grand Slam final and only their seventh tournament together.

What's happening around Saudi Arabia

ALKHOBAR: A power failure at the King Fahd Causeway on Wednesday night resulted in a massive traffic congestion, even as officials failed to explain the cause of the snag, local media reported.A power outage for 74 minutes on the link between the Kin...
JEDDAH: A female Saudi lawyer was able to get a stay order on a ruling by the general court in Jeddah that awarded custody of a two-year-old girl to her father. She successfully argued to get the court order reversed that gave custody back to the mot...
JEDDAH: The Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Haia) said that combating harassment cases is part of its responsibility to promote Islamic values and morals in society.“Those harassing women will be brought to book,” s...
RIYADH: A thick layer of sand covered the city’s skyline on Saturday with a heavy blanket of dust caused by strong winds hampering visibility and creating traffic snarls on busy roads.The traffic department advised motorists to drive slowly and exerc...
JEDDAH: More than 26 million Umrah pilgrims and worshippers visited the Grand Mosque during the month of Ramadan and in the first few days after Eid Al-Fitr, thanks to a smooth transport arrangement under the guidance of Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-...
AL-AHSA: An outbreak of lumpy skin disease (LSD) has been discovered in cattle in Al-Ahsa which is an area with many cows. All necessary measures have been taken to protect the livestock, said Mahmoud Al-Shuaibi of the Agriculture Department in Al-Ah...
RIYADH: An architectural masterpiece — the King Abdul Aziz Historical Center (KAHC) — in Riyadh is a huge complex dedicated solely to collecting, preserving, promoting and showcasing the history and heritage of Saudi Arabia. The KAHC is a three milli...
RIYADH: The Saudi Blind Society (Kafif) has made all preparations for the three-day workshop for the blind to be held here next week and attended by delegates from various Asian countries.Mohammed bin Suleiman Al-Shuwaiman, Kafif director general, th...
JEDDAH: The number of Saudis who took early retirement schemes last year stood at 38,647, the General Organization for Social Insurance (GOSI) has said. The Eastern Provinces got the lion's share of disbursements for retirees, amounting to SR3.8 bill...
JEDDAH: Meat and poultry topped the list of food items seized by the Saudi Food and Drug Authority (SFDA) at the border crossings for violating the health standards in the last two months.Approximately 267,137 kg of unfit meat and poultry were reject...
JEDDAH: Many sponsors and workers of small companies are struggling to get a comparatively cheaper health cover for renewal of iqama (residential permit) as the insurance companies have stopped issuing the same.The passport department has made it com...
RIYADH: Police have detained 11 Indonesian nationals, who arrived in the holy city of Makkah for Umrah a few days back.The Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry is working closely with the Indonesian Consulate in Jeddah to assist the group of citizen...
JEDDAH: The National Committee for Bakeries at the Council of Saudi Chambers (CSC) said this Haj season would see no shortage in supplies of bakery items.The committee said there was need to increase operational labor by about 20 percent.It confirmed...
JEDDAH: Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Al Hamzi, director general of prisons, has sacked Brig. Ahmad Al Shahrani, director of Jeddah prisons, after the case of a video clip about prisoners taking heroin went viral, according to local media.Quoting informed source...
JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal met with leaders of security forces in the region on Thursday to discuss future plans and mechanisms to limit infiltrators from entering the holy sites via land passageways during Haj.During the meeting, he...

Stay Connected

Facebook