Li becomes first Chinese in Slam final | sports | Hindustan Times
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Li becomes first Chinese in Slam final

China's tennis trailblazer Li Na roared back from the brink of defeat to upset world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki on Thursday and set up an Australian Open final against Kim Clijsters.

sports Updated: Jan 28, 2011 00:56 IST

China's Li Na beat world number one Caroline Wozniacki 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the Australian Open semis on Thursday to become the first Asian woman to reach a Grand Slam final.

Li courageously saved a match point before clawing her way back into the match, her second straight Australian Open semi-final, and dashing Wozniacki's hopes of winning a maiden major title.

The Chinese number one fought back from a poor start where she made error after error to give Wozniacki easy points, to gradually overhaul her younger opponent in hot conditions on Rod Laver Arena.

The 20-year-old Wozniacki had gone into the tournament having to fend off accusations that she wasn't a deserving world number one because she is yet to win a Grand Slam.

For the first set-and-a-half, as she systematically picked apart Li's game and broke down the Chinese player's fierce forehand, Wozniacki looked every bit the world's best player.

But just when Li looked down and out, she cut down her error rate and began to find her range with her groundstrokes, scrapping her way back into the match.

The 28-year-old from Wuhan overwhelmed a tiring Wozniacki in the third set to set up a final against either Kim Clijsters or Vera Zvonareva.