24 January 2018, Wednesday, 2:35

Azarenka retains Australian Open title

World number one Victoria Azarenka of Belarus beat World No.6 Li Na of China 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Melbourne final on 26 January to defend her Australian Open title.

The 23-year-old Belarusian came back from a set down to take a win over the 30-year-old Chinese in the match that lasted for two hours and 40 minutes.

The victory brought Victoria Azarenka her second Grand Slam title after last year’s win over Russia’s Maria Sharapova at Melbourne Park.

The Chinese held the initiative at the beginning of the match on 26 January when she led 3-1, 4-2 and 5-3. Shortly afterwards Azarenka reduced the gap to 5-4 but doubt-faulted on set point.

Azarenka made a strong start into the second set which lasted for almost an hour. Li Na battled back but had to take a medical timeout after suffering a fall. The Chinese came out and fired with five points in a row. Li Na then fell back 4-2 just before reducing the gap and finally tying it at 4-4. Azarenka composed herself to win the set 6-4.

The players exchanged breaks at the beginning of the third set after which the Chinese representative took a lead 2-1. Li Na had to call a second timeout as she crashed to the ground once again. The third set ended up with 6-3 to the favor of Victoria Azarenka.

It was the tenth meeting for the Belarusian and Chinese tennis players, with Azarenka holding six victories now.