Azarenka retains title, Bryans make history

2013-01-26 16:35:42 GMT2013-01-27 00:35:42(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MELBOURNE, Jan. 26 (Xinhua) -- Belarus world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka beat injured Li Na of China in three sets to retain her Australian Open women's singles title here on Saturday, while Bryan brothers capture a record 13th Grand Slam doubles title.

The match was stopped three times, twice when sixth-seeded Li twisted her left ankle and took medical timeouts and once for a fireworks display as it is the Australian National Day.

Trailing 1-3 in the second set, Li sprained her left ankle for the first time. The problem restricted Li's movement and the defending champion managed to close out the set 6-4.

Li got her ankle struck again in the fourth game of the deciding set while she was leading 2-1. Li fell and hit her head hard on the court, forcing doctors to check her for signs of concussion before letting her to move.

"My head touched the floor. And for two seconds I couldn't really see anything. It was totally black," said Li. "Of course it was a little bit sad when I lost the final. But if I look back to the beginning of the year until now, I still have to say I'm proud of myself. I really felt that I was back to the tennis court again."

"It's a tough match. Azarenka is world No. 1 and defending champion. I think she played better than I did in today's important match, so that's why she can win the title," Li added.

Li, the crowd favourite of the final, started the first set with a double-fault. The finalists exchanged breaks in the first set before Li held and broke Azarenka to go 3-1 ahead. Li served for the first set at 5-4 but crumbled and was broken to love. Azarenka's errors in the very next game handed her opponent the first set as the Belarusian double-faulted on set point.

After her second medical treatment, Li went back and took Azarenka to break point before the Belarusian held serve. Li was then easily broken on her next service game, setting the stage for Azarenka to close out the match.

It is the second time for Li to miss the Australian Open title. She lost to Kim Clijsters of Belgium in the 2011 final.

Mike and Bob Bryan defeated the Dutch pair of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling in men's doubles final 6-3, 6-4 to capture their record 13th Grand Slam doubles title.

The Aemricans now have six Australian Open titles to go along with four at the US Open, two at the Wimbledon and one at the French Open.

As the top seeds at the Melbourne Park, the brothers have also finished eight of the last 10 years as the world No. 1 ranked doubles team, including last year, while their opponents Haase and Sijsling were only playing in their first Grand Slam final and seventh tournament together.

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