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Page last updated at 16:30 GMT, Friday, 14 January 2011

Li Na beats Clijsters to win Sydney International title

Li Na
Li celebrates winning her first title since Birmingham in 2010

China's Li Na produced a sensational comeback to beat Kim Clijsters and win the Sydney International title.

Eighth seed Li was 0-5 down after only 18 minutes, but fought back to win in straight sets 7-6 (7-3) 6-3.

"I didn't believe I could get back from there but it all just changed in one or two points," said Li.

The win is a fourth career title for world number 11 Li and a boost ahead of next week's Australian Open, where she reached the semi-final last year.

It was a spectacularly see-saw opening set. The 27-year-old Belgian broke her opponent's serve three times, before suffering a remarkable collapse.

Seven double faults and 27 unforced errors from Clijsters allowed Li, 28, to recover and then overhaul her opponent, to claim the opening set after a tie-break.

An increasingly frustrated Clijsters then lost her serve twice early in the second set.


Li held her own serve under pressure in the second to record her first tournament victory since Birmingham in 2010.

"I think I just softened the quality of my strokes," said third-seeded Clijsters. "I wasn't hitting quite as deep as before and not as aggressively, and she definitely took over very quickly.

"I didn't played my best tonight. But she did and she deserved to win."

It was Li's first win over the two-time champion in three meetings at the Sydney tournament. Until this defeat, Clijsters had a perfect record in semi-finals and finals since coming out of retirement in 2009.

Despite Li's win, she will remain at number 11 in the world rankings. Clijsters misses out on the chance to move from third to second, above Vera Zvonoreva.

Gilles Simon of France won the of the Sydney International on Saturday with a 7-5 7-6 win over Viktor Troicki of Serbia.

Having beaten third seed Ernests Gulbis of Latvia 7-6 (7-1) 6-0 to reach the final, the 26-year-old dug deep to claim his eighth tour title and give him a big boost ahead of the Australian Open.

Meanwhile, former world number one Lleyton Hewitt defeated Frenchman Gael Monfils 7-5 6-3 to win the invitational Kooyong Classic in Melbourne.

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see also
Clijsters battles to Sydney final
13 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Top seed Wozniacki out of Sydney
11 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Clijsters battles to WTA victory
31 Oct 10 |  Tennis
Li beats Sharapova in Birmingham
13 Jun 10 |  Tennis

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