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Page last updated at 08:27 GMT, Saturday, 29 January 2011

Kim Clijsters v Li Na as it happened


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By Piers Newbery

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From Somerset via text:"Yes!!! Love Kim!! Does she deserve the title of 'least demonstrative tennis player ever'?!"

1110: OK, as Kim Clijsters parades the trophy we'll wrap it up for today but check back on the BBC Sport website throughout the day for all manner of build-up to Sunday's men's final between Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. The live text commentary will kick off at 0730 GMT before TV, radio and online pictures join the fun from 0815 GMT. I literally cannot wait. But I'll have to.

1100: Kim Clijsters - "I'm a little shaky still but first I have to congratulate Li Na. I've played so many matches against her and she had a great effort these last two weeks. Hopefully we'll have a lot more to come, a few more Grand Slam finals would be nice. And before I came here I chipped my tooth at the airport and the dentist fixed me up so quickly and so good, he said 'Promise me if you get to the final then you'll thank me,' so I said 'sure.'" And I finally feel like you can call me 'Aussie Kim' because I won the title."

1057: Li Na - "First I have to congratulate Kim for a great tournament. Thanks to my team, they push me a lot and if they didn't stay behind me, I couldn't do anything. The man with the yellow t-shirt is my husband, I make a lot of jokes about him but it doesn't matter if you are fat or skinny, I will always love you."

From TimRichardson90 Twitter: "Best women's final in years - quality tennis, not obvious who was going to win, and no grunting! Congratulations Kim!"

1046: Clijsters dissolves into tears after a quite brilliant love hold to seal victory for her fourth Grand Slam title and first away from Flushing Meadows.


* Clijsters 3-6 6-3 5-3 Li
Li holds up her part of the bargain with an impressive hold to 15 and Clijsters must serve this one out....

Clijsters 3-6 6-3 5-2 Li *
Clijsters holds quickly and looks back to the three-time Grand Slam champion that started the match. "Li's hit too many unforced errors and Clijsters has got a lot more balls in court and almost waited for Li Na to make the errors," says John Lloyd on the Red Button.

From Tiirshakvia Twitter: "A classic final between 2 great players and 2 genuinely decent people. Great to see."

* Clijsters 3-6 6-3 4-2 Li
The end is in sight when a dispirited Li falls to 15-30 but she gets the better of a Hawkeye decision at 30-30 and holds on.

Clijsters 3-6 6-3 4-1 Li *
Look out, Clijsters holds to love, thanks in part to some dodgy Li returns, and that could be too big a lead for the Chinese player to overturn.

* Clijsters 3-6 6-3 3-1 Li
Li is under huge pressure again at 30-30 but plays a fabulous backhand down the line. "She's got such pace off both sides," says John Lloyd on the Red Button. Plenty of pace on the next Li forehand but it finds the net and it's deuce. A double fault hands Clijsters break point.... and Li goes well wide with a backhand. Another fist pump from Kim, but another service game to come....

From JennaEmmm via Twitter: "kim's splits have to be the most athletic move in ladies tennis!"

Clijsters 3-6 6-3 2-1 Li *
This is a tough one to call, and all the better for it. Li has a break point but nets under pressure, only for Clijsters to make her second double fault of the game. Break point number two... and Li hits an absolute screamer to get back on serve and slow the Belgian's express pace.

* Clijsters 3-6 6-3 2-0 Li
Clijsters absolutely powers through Li's service game, getting to 0-40 and three break points.... and Li puts a poor backhand volley wide on the third. My earlier suggestion that we hadn't had a three-set final for five years can be added to today's list of errors - this is the second successive three-setter in Australia, last year's between Serena Williams and Justine Henin was the first since 2006 Wimbledon so this is the third in the last five years. This one's the best though.

Clijsters 3-6 6-3 1-0 Li *
Clijsters holds to love and that's an ominous sign for Li.

* Clijsters 3-6 6-3 Li
It's great hitting from both women, with Clijsters doing her trademark splits almost every other stroke here as she tries to keep pace with the booming Li groundstrokes. Li hits a heavy forehand into the corner for 40-30 but then hooks one into the tramlines and it's deuce. Clijsters arrows a forehand down the line for set point.... and Li nets, prompting a fist pump from Clijsters. We have our third set.

Clijsters 3-6 5-3 Li *
Clijsters looks in control at 30-0 but Li hits back with a fierce backhand before finding the tramlines. Clijsters has two game points only to net a forehand on the first under a barrage from Li, but the Chinese player misses with a lob and a third set looms.

* Clijsters 3-6 4-3 Li
Clijsters has a half-chance at 0-30 but fires a backhand just long. No matter, she recovers with a forehand down the line and it's 15-40 and two break points.... the Belgian dominates a great rally but Li hangs in there and Clijsters eventually nets. Li then has a chance to level at deuce with a drive volley but goes the wrong way, and Clijsters thwacks a backhand into the space.

Clijsters 3-6 3-3 Li *
Clijsters anticipates a Li smash and hits a forehand winner for 30-15, and sets up the next point with a dipping forehand that Li can only flip up invitingly with a half-volley. It has to be a winner for Clijsters but she goes the wrong way and a grateful Li sticks her racquet out to take the point for 30-30. It's a bad moment for the Belgian but to her credit she keeps herself together and manages to hold serve.

From chimpwizard via Twitter: "Very impressed so far by Li Na. Kim Clijsters face says it all really, I don't think she was expecting such a fierce battle. #BBCAussieOpen."

* Clijsters 3-6 2-3 Li
Aside from people like myself banging on about the historical significance of Li making this final, the significance for tennis is that she's a really great player to watch. Clijsters might not agree right now but she raises her game with a forehand cross-court winner to get to 15-40 and two break points..... Li saves the first with a very calm smash, Clijsters nets on the second, and Li holds for the first time in the set.

Clijsters 3-6 2-2 Li *
Are we not all chemical compounds, in some sense? I have no idea, I was asked personally by my teacher not to take chemistry GCSE. This is turning into a really good contest and Li earns another break point but cannot chase down a Clijsters net cord. The Chinese player attacks again to force break point two... but Clijsters hangs on. Game point to the Belgian and we get a stunning rally that ends with both women at the net, Li taking it with a forehand steered down the line. Clijsters snatches at a forehand and it's break point number three.... and Li hits a huge forehand winner! This is fun.

From avaragado via Twitter: "Li Na is the first chemical compound to appear in a grand slam."

* Clijsters 3-6 2-1 Li
Clijsters makes a winning pass for 15-30 but then fails to find a return and it's 30-30. Li goes for a forehand down the line but just misses the line and looks to her husband in the stands in dismay. It's break point... but Clijsters punts a forehand over the baseline. Li then misses a backhand and Hawkeye does not help her out this time. Break point number two.... and Clijsters seals the third break in a row with a backhand return winner.

Clijsters 3-6 1-1 Li *
Blimey, Clijsters gets on the wrong end of a Hawkeye decision to slip break point down but saves it, only for Li to convert her second break point chance moments later, and the Belgian looks really out-of-sorts today.

* Clijsters 3-6 1-0 Li
Clijsters plays her first truly positive point for some time at 40-15 down with a big forehand opening up the court for a drive volley, and a Li error makes it deuce. Clijsters then finds a winner for break point and has a look at a second serve, but it's a good one out wide from Li and we're back to deuce. Clijsters earns a second break point.... Li double faults! "We could be in for our first women's Grand Slam three-set final for five years," says David Law on 5 live sports extra. And word just in on the Li wedding anniversary, apparently a phone call from her mother sorted it out - and it was on 27th!

Clijsters 3-6 Li *
Clijsters is in big trouble at 0-30 and grateful to see Li miss with a return off a second serve, but the Chinese player then wallops a forehand winner down the line for two sets points.... and Li takes the second with a blistering cross-court winner past the flailing Clijsters at the net. Shot of the day, and I can hear the cheering of 330m households form here.

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Paula from Wales via text: "I love it when someone new wins. So I'm rooting for Li Na"

* Clijsters 3-5 Li
Li whips over a beautifully angled forehand that almost hits the junction of service and sideline, a wonderful shot for 30-0, but then double faults and sends a forehand long. It's a big point at 30-30 and Li swings a straightforward backhand well wide for break point... but Clijsters smacks a backhand well over the baseline and Li holds. CNN estimates that 330 million households are able to view the final on the state network. That's nearly as many people as currently accessing this live text, probably.

Clijsters 3-4 Li *
Clijsters misses with another overhead, albeit a trickier one this time as Li makes her stretch, and it's break point.... and again it's Clijsters who breaks down first in a hard-hitting rally. Hubby looks happy in the stands.

From Singerxen via Twitter: "Get the impression both are really well matched. Not sure which one hits it harder, edging towards Li Na."

* Clijsters 3-3 Li
Clijsters thumps a forehand down the line for break point but Li wins a pulsating rally, and Clijsters then misses with a second-serve return on her second break point. Clijsters misses a sitter of a smash at deuce and Li comes through. The good people at the WTA inform me that this is the first Grand Slam final between two married woman since Wimbledon 1980 when Evonne Goolagong Cawley beat Chris Evert Lloyd. Coincidentally, Li is celebrating her fifth wedding anniversary today, we think. When asked about it on court the other day, Li wasn't sure, although in fairness Andy Murray forgot the score halfway through a Grand Slam semi-final yesterday....

Clijsters 3-2 Li *
Saturday morning at the swimming pool - damp hair, dressing gowns, dodgy pool tables and hanging around the vending machines eating Wotsits. Or maybe that was just Margate in the 1980s. Clijsters stops the rot with a solid hold of her own. "Clijsters has been very impressive over the last 18 months and was 10-1 against top-10 players in 2010, which is an incredible stat," says Jeremy Bates on 5 live sports extra.

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From Helen, M6, via text: "In the car on the way to a water park on Stoke. Big Clijsters fan so very appreciative of the live updates! Come on Kim!"

* Clijsters 2-2 Li
Great stuff from the ninth seed, who is now into her rhythm from the baseline and holds comfortably to level the scores.

Clijsters 2-1 Li *
Yes, yes... a manual refresh will correct the score. My alarm didn't go off this morning and I was woken by a phone call from an irate taxi driver - I haven't recovered yet. Fortunately, Li seems to have stronger nerves than me and, after getting a huge cheer on winning her first point of the day, breaks serve to get back on track.

* Clijsters 2-0 Li
Li is no stranger to the odd bout of nerves and losing the first eight points of the match isn't going to help that much. She throws in a double fault before Clijsters gets a little lucky with a net cord to break to love. The crowd is already getting edgy, we need a contest here.

Clijsters 1-0 Li *
..and Clijsters holds to love in her customary quick fashion. The Belgian leads their head-to-head 4-2 but lost last time out in the Sydney final two weeks ago, having led 5-0 at one stage. Ouch.
* denotes NEXT to serve

It's good news for a Briton
0840: We have British representation in both singles finals this weekend as Alison Laing is today's umpire - let's hope there isn't a karate kick challenge that she fails to spot a la Howard Webb. Clijsters to serve...

From Twiddlepin via Twitter: "In Shanghai looking forward to watching Li Na in the Aussie Open Final. #BBCAussieOpen"

Text in your views on 81111
From anon via text: "I am 100% certain that the name 'LI' will be added to the 2011 Roll Of Honour - but I'm 95% certain that there will be a 'C' and 'JSTERS' around it."

0831: There are plenty of Chinese fans on Rod Laver Arena and, after enjoying what looks like a very lighthearted chat backstage, the two players make their way towards the court.

0825: I'm going to call upon your undoubted wisdom, sober judgement and spellchecking skills over the next couple of hours, so get in touch via Twitter (hashtag #BBCAussieOpen ) or send a text message to 81111 (UK) with TENNIS before your message. If you want to thank me personally for my fine work then Tweet me.

0820: Morning all, and welcome to a historic Saturday morning. The great nation of China is about to enjoy the experience of watching one of its number participating in a Grand Slam singles final for the first time. Li Na has made it to the final day but can she stop the whirlwind that is Kim Clijsters?

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see also
Australian Open photos
29 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Clijsters wins first Aussie Open
29 Jan 11 |  Tennis
Men's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

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