Li Na beats Sharapova to lift Birmingham title
Top seed Li Na of China won the WTA Birmingham title at Edgbaston and returned to the world's top 10 after beating second-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-1 here on Sunday.sports Updated: Jun 13, 2010 22:00 IST
Top seed Li Na of China won the WTA Birmingham title at Edgbaston and returned to the world's top 10 after beating second-seeded Russian Maria Sharapova 7-5, 6-1 here on Sunday.
It was a repeat of last year's semi-final, where Li also beat Sharapova before losing to Slovak Magdalena Rybarikova in the final.
In a close first set Li found herself 1-3 down but rallied before taking the second set in just 24 minutes for what was the 24-year-old's third career title.
She has also won in Guangzhou, in her native China, in 2004 and at Australia's Gold Coast two years ago.
Li was the first Chinese woman to break into the Top 10 earlier this year, reaching No.10 after a run to the semi-finals of the Australia Open, before dipping out of the elite group after a seven-week stay and dropping to as low as No.16.
But some solid performances on clay and this victory on the grass at Edgbaston, which acts as a warm-up event for Wimbledon, now the last of the four tennis Majors to be played on grass, have seen Li rise back up the global rankings.
Former Wimbledon, Australia and US Open champion Sharapova was bidding for a third Edgbaston title.
And had she won on Sunday, Sharapova would have been the first female player this year to take three tour events following wins in Memphis and Strasbourg.