Azarenka eyes second straight Australian Open crown
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)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- One dead, one wounded in shooting in Chicago financial district
- Israel, Palestinians locked in vicious circle of Gaza wars
- U.S. advises against non-essential travel to countries hit by Ebola
- Millions of jellyfish-like creatures wash up on western U.S. beaches
- UPDATE 3-Apache to quit gas projects in Australia and Canada
Spinner Moeen Ali claimed six wickets to inspire England to a crushing 266-run win over India on Thursday to level an absorbing series at 1-1 with two matches to play. Full Article