SYDNEY - Li Na staged a remarkable comeback from 5-0 down in the first set to upset Australian Open favourite Kim Clijsters 7-6 6-3 in the final of the Sydney International on Friday.
Li Na of China holds her trophy after winning the women's singles final against Kim Clijsters of Belgium at the Sydney International tennis tournament January 14, 2011. [Photo/Agencies]
It was a first loss in 14 semi-finals and finals for US Open champion Clijsters since her return from retirement in August 2009 and the manner of defeat will be a big psychological blow just three days from the start of the year's first grand slam.
The 28-year-old Li, a semi-finalist at Melbourne Park last year, sealed her fourth career title when she volleyed home a winner with Clijsters stranded off the court after 90 minutes.
It had taken Clijsters just 18 minutes to rack up a 5-0 lead in the first set but her game then fell apart, with seven double faults and 27 unforced errors telling the tale of a spectacular collapse.