Belgian Clijsters wins her first-ever Australian Open singles title

08:05, January 30, 2011      

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China's Li Na (L) and Belgium's Kim Clijsters pose for photograph before the women's singles final at the 2011 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Meng Yongmin)

Belgian tennis star Kim Clijsters, triple U.S. Open champion, claimed her first-ever Australian Open singles title in Melbourne on Saturday, beating China's Li Na 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 in the final.

Third-seeded Clijsters, 27, rallied to upset ninth-seeded Li Na, who made history for China and Asia to enter a Grand Slam final, in two hours and 15 minutes.

Throughout the match, Li hit four double faults and 40 unforced errors, while Clijsters had three double faults and 26 unforced errors.

Clijsters burst into tears right after she sealed the victory for her fourth Grand Slam title.

Two weeks ago, Li defeated Clijsters in straight sets 7-6 (7-3), 6-3 in the final of Sydney International.

In Thursday's semifinal, Li showed her courage by beating world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 3-6, 7-5, 6-3.

Clijsters, who boasts 40 career titles, played her first Grand Slam final a decade ago, and has won the U.S. Open three times on a surface similar to the new center court at Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne of Australia.

Clijsters is projected to return to No. 2 in WTA singles rankings next week.

Despite Saturday's loss, Li is supposed to return to Top 10 when the new WTA rankings are published on Monday.


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