Thursday, January 27, 2011

Australian Open: Finally China!

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CONGRATS to No. 9 Li Na on her 3-6, 7-5, 6-3 win over World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the Semifinals of the Australian Open.

The win for Na was a historical moment as she becomes the first player from China to advance to the Final of a Grand Slam event. It's a huge accomplishment, no doubt indeed.

After the match, Na said, "Maybe many young players or children (in China) will see and think, ‘maybe one day we can do the same or even better than her.’”

The match started poorly for Na as she was an unforced errors nightmare in the first set. But she began to compose herself in the second set and by the end of the set her cannon-like returns were visibly getting the best of Wozniacki. Once she was able to pull out a win in the second set it was not surprising she breezed through the third and final set because toward the end of that second set she was looking mighty strong. It was one of those "watch out" moments.

As for Wozniacki, her demons continue. Yes, she will hold on to the No. 1 ranking by reaching the semis, but there is no question she will continue to get dogged by the nagging questions of whether or not she is deserving of the No. 1 ranking without ever winning a major Grand Slam event. But I guess (fairly or unfairly) that will be her reality until she finally does win one.

Na, on the other hand, has a date in the Final with No. 3 Kim Clijsters who ousted No. 2 Vera Zvonareva in the other semi, 6-3, 6-3. Clijsters is looking to win her second consecutive Grand Slam title and 4th overall. She has won the U.S. Open three times (2005, 2009, 2010). And regardless of the outcome in the Aussie Final, Clijsters will move down to No. 2 in the world when it is all said and done.

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For Na, winning the title would be epic, but even if she doesn't, she has reached uncharted waters for China and I'm sure she'll receive a hero's welcome upon her return.

The best word to describe her win is MONUMENTAL. Indeed.

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