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Radwanska downs Chinese star to reach final

By Agence France-Presse in Sydney (China Daily) Updated: 2013-01-11 07:31

 Radwanska downs Chinese star to reach final

Agnieska Radwanska of Poland acknowledges the crowd after defeating Li Na of China during their semifinal match at the Sydney International on Thursday. Daniel Munoz / Reuters

Poland's Agnieszka Radwanska fought off former winner Li Na to reach the final of the Sydney International on the back of her eighth consecutive win on Thursday.

Radwanska needed seven match points to finally clinch a 6-3, 6-4 victory in one hour and 32 minutes over the Chinese star on the Ken Rosewall Arena.

The world No 4 will play Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in Friday's decider.

Cibulkova became the first unseeded player in six years to reach the Sydney final when she ousted German second seed Angelique Kerber 6-2, 4-6, 6-3 in Thursday's other semi.

Radwanska is in hot form ahead of next week's Australian Open in Melbourne after a victory in Auckland last week, where she beat Yanina Wickmayer to lift the trophy.

The top seed said the number of match points brought back memories of her victory in the Auckland final.

"It was kind of like a deja-vu from the Auckland final. I had also I think seven, eight match points before I win this final, so very similar situation," she said.

Radwanska said her constant match schedule was not an issue heading into the Australian Open.

"Actually today when I was going on court, it was if I win, great; if not, it's not that big a deal because I really have had a lot of matches here and in Auckland," she said.

"I'm really ready for the Australian Open. But I always go on court to win. I will do everything to win the final tomorrow as well, and we'll see. I wish to win 16 matches in a row (if she wins the Open)."

For Li, who won the title in Shenzhen last week, it was her first defeat in nine matches in the new season.

She fought hard against the Pole but errors at crucial times ultimately cost her the match.

The Chinese star, who won in Sydney two years ago, netted a drop shot from the baseline on set point and then lost the match with another netted drop shot.

"I was always feeling like I had a chance. Even the chair umpire didn't say finish, (so) everyone has the chance," Li said.

Li was satisfied with her week's work after her tough playing schedule at the onset of the new year.

"I'm made the semis. Why should I be sad?" she said. "It's my first loss for this year so it's a pretty good experience, right?"

(China Daily 01/11/2013 page24)

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