MELBOURNE, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Victoria Azarenka retained her Australian Open title with a tense 4-6 6-4 6-3 victory over China’s Li Na, who suffered a sickening ankle injury in the second set and hit her head in the third when she twisted the joint for a second time.
Li had dominated the first set on Saturday but Azarenka raced out to a 3-1 lead in the second before Li slipped and twisted her left ankle. She had it strapped but had problems pivoting and Azarenka won the set 6-4.
The Chinese sixth seed, who won the French Open title in 2011, had taken a 2-1 lead in the decider before a fireworks display delayed play for about 10 minutes and she immediately went over her ankle again when they returned and hit her head.
A smiling Li returned to court but Azarenka managed to break in the fifth game, then hold serve to jump to a 4-2 lead and she sealed the title, which ensured she retained the number one ranking, when she broke Li in the ninth game.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury