Tennis-China's Li wins Gold Coast title in comeback event

GOLD COAST, Australia Sat Jan 5, 2008 6:26am GMT

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GOLD COAST, Australia Jan 5 (Reuters) - China's Li Na celebrated her comeback from injury with a 4-6 6-3 6-4 triumph over Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to win the Australian Hardcourt Championships on Saturday.

The 25-year-old, back from a sixth-month layoff, battled back from the loss of the first set to claim victory in two hours, 11 minutes and lift her second career title.

World number 30 Azarenka, who was looking for her first WTA Tour title, started strongly to take the first set.

But as the match wore on, Li began to draw more errors from the Belarusian and levelled at one set all, breaking three times to her opponent's two.

The third set was a tight affair but Li held on in a long service game to make it 4-4 and then broke Azarenka in the following game thanks to a superb backhand winner.

A close call on the first point of the 10th game initially went against Li but the Chinese did not hear the over-rule and thought the score was 0-15.

When 18-year-old Azarenka drifted a backhand slice over the baseline, Li clinched the title, although she was initially unaware she had won the match and only found out when the umpire called the score.

(Writing by Simon Cambers in Perth, editing by Martin Petty)

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