Azarenka eyes second straight Australian Open crown

MELBOURNE Fri Jan 25, 2013 10:40pm IST

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus attends a practice session at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 25, 2013. REUTERS/Toby Melville

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus attends a practice session at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne January 25, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Toby Melville

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Defending champion Victoria Azarenka will bid for back-to-back titles at Melbourne Park on Saturday when she takes on China's late-blooming Li Na in the final of the Australian Open.

The 23-year-old Belarusian holds a 5-4 career record against former French Open champion Li, including the last four of their encounters.

Li, however, has prevailed in both their grand slam clashes, including her run to the 2011 final at Melbourne Park where she was overhauled by Belgian Kim Clijsters in three sets.

Both players are bidding for their second grand slam crown.

Top seed Azarenka has endured a turbulent leadup to the final, fending off accusations of gamesmanship in her 6-1 6-4 semi-final win over Sloane Stephens in which she took a near-10 minute medical timeout after blowing five match points.

Belarus's first grand slam singles champion denied the charge, however, saying she needed treatment for a rib injury that was affecting her breathing during the tense phase of the match.

Li has enjoyed a far smoother lead-in and will enter Rod Laver Arena brimful of confidence after demolishing Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 in their last-four clash.

Defeat for Azarenka would mean surrendering her world number one ranking to Serena Williams, while victory for Li would make the Chinese the oldest woman to win the singles trophy at Melbourne Park. (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Time at United

Time at United

Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity.  Full Article 

Praise For Real

Praise For Real

Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale.  Full Article 

Coach Sacked

Coach Sacked

Struggling Nuremberg sack coach Verbeek.  Full Article 

Ferrer Out

Ferrer Out

Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage