* Li wins her first title of 2012
* Hails work done by new coach
(Adds details, quotes)
By Simon Evans
MASON, Ohio, Aug 19 China's Li Na showed plenty
of character as she fought back to beat German Angelique Kerber
1-6 6-3 6-1 and win the Cincinnati Open title on Sunday.
The victory ends Li's run of three defeats in finals this
year, including a loss to Petra Kvitova in Montreal last week,
and is a major boost for her ahead of the U.S. Open later this
The 30-year-old Li's win was her sixth career title and her
first since her French Open triumph last year and came after the
Chinese teamed up with Argentine Carlos Rodriguez, the coach of
multiple grand slam winning Belgian Justine Henin, earlier this
Li won nine straight games from a set and a game down to
take the second set and then a 3-0 lead in the third and she
gave plenty of credit to her new coach.
"Thanks Carlos, you are good," she said during the
"I think we have a good beginning to our work. Before the
match we talked a lot about yesterday's game and also about
today," she told reporters.
"Working with him I feel more comfortable, relaxed, not
Li consulted with Rodriguez after the first set where she
had failed to break through Kerber's solid defence.
"He told me to concentrate on my own game and some other
things. He's my secret weapon," she said.
Kerber, looking for her third title this year, appeared
shell-shocked by the turnaround and was close to tears during
discussions with her coach.
The 24-year-old said she had become emotional during the run
of games where she couldn't find a way to deal with Li.
"She was playing so well. I tried to hit the ball deep but
she was bringing back every ball and also playing the ball so
deep herself, so I couldn't do anything," Kerber told reporters.
"I tried, I gave all I could but it was not enough to win."
(Reporting By Simon Evans; Editing by Tim Hart/Patrick