Friday January 28, 2011
Preview of the Australian Open 2011 Women Final between Kim Clijsters and Li Na
MELBOURNE, Australia--(LadyDragon.com)28/01/11--This is the fifth straight Grand Slam final between two players aged 25 or over.
Clijsters (27 years, 7 months) and Li Na (28 years, 11 months) are the fifth and sixth players aged 27 or over to reach the Australian Open final since the event moved to Melbourne Park in 1988, with Serena Williams having done it twice:
AUSTRALIAN OPEN FINALISTS AGED 27 or OVER SINCE 1988
PLAYER AGE YEAR RESULT IN FINAL
Chris Evert (USA) 33 years, 11 months 1988 R-up, l. Graf
Li Na (CHN) 28 years, 11 months 2011 ??
Lindsay Davenport (USA) 28 years, 7 months 2005 R-up, l. S.Williams
Serena Williams (USA) 28 years, 4 months 2010 Won, d. Henin
Justine Henin (BEL) 27 years, 7 months 2010 R-up, l. S.Williams
Kim Clijsters (BEL) 27 years, 7 months 2011 ??
Serena Williams (USA) 27 years, 4 months 2009 Won, d. Safina
Clijsters is through to her 8th Grand Slam final, and her 2nd Australian Open final. Clijsters was runner-up here in 2004, losing to Henin in 3 sets
Clijsters lost her first 4 Grand Slam finals before securing her first major at 2005 US Open. Clijsters won her 3rd Grand Slam title at 2010 US Open, extending her undefeated run in New York to 21 matches. She is facing a 6th different opponent in a Grand Slam final on Saturday:.
Clijsters has reached back-to-back Grand Slam finals for the second time in her career; she reached back-to-back finals at 2003 US Open/2004 Australian Open, losing in both finals...
Clijsters is bidding for back-to-back Grand Slam titles for the first time. Serena Williams was the last player to win back-toback majors at 2008 US Open/2009 Australian Open and is 1 of 8 women to have won those two back to back. In the Open Era, 13 different players have won back-to-back Slams at least once:
AUSTRALIAN OPEN ROLAND GARROS
Evert (1983, 85)
Navratilova (1982, 84)
Court (1969, 70, 73)
ROLAND GAROS WIMBLEDON
Graf (1988, 89, 93, 95, 96)
Navratilova (1982, 84)
WIMBLEDON US OPEN
Graf (1988-89, 93, 95-96)
Navratilova (1983-84, 86-87)
US OPEN AUSTRALIAN OPEN
S.Williams (2003, 2009)
Graf (1989, 90, 94)
Six of Clijsterss losses at the Australian Open have been to players ranked in Top 3; only on her debut in 2000 (l. world No.16 Van Roost) and last year (l. world No.19 Petrova) has she lost at the Australian Open to a player ranked outside Top 3; at last years Australian Open, Clijsters suffered her worst result (3r) since 2002 Wimbledon, and suffered her heaviest-ever defeat in a Grand Slam (l. Petrova 60 61)
This is Clijsterss 8th singles final since she returned to tennis in 2009; she won the first 6 of those before losing in the Sydney final 2 weeks ago against todays opponent Li
Clijsters has only lost to 1 player more than once since coming back: her last 3 losses of 2010 were to Zvonareva, whom she defeated in SF here...
Since her return to tennis in August 2009, Clijsters is 26-2 in Grand Slam matches, including 2 titles (2009/2010 US Open)
Clijsters has advanced to a Grand Slam final without dropping a set for the 3rd time (2003 US Open, 2004 Australian Open); 38 women have won the title here without dropping a set in the events history, most recently Maria Sharapova in 2008...
Clijsters is projected to return to No.2 in WTA singles rankings next week; the last time she was ranked No.2 was August 2006; she entered last years Australian Open ranked No.15
Clijsters has a career hard court winning percentage of over 83%; among the current Top 300, only Serena Williams has a higher winning percentage (84 %)
Clijsters is bidding for her 41st career singles title today and her 32nd on hard court; she sits in the Top 5 list for all-time hard court singles titles:
PLAYER HARD COURT TITLES
1. Steffi Graf 37
2. Lindsay Davenport 34
3. Chris Evert 32
4. Kim Clijsters 31
5. Monica Seles 28
Li is the first Asian player, male or female, in history to reach a Grand Slam singles final; she is looking to become the 38th woman to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era
Of the 37 women who have won a Grand Slam singles title in the Open Era, 9 of them won their first Grand Slam at the Australian Open, most recently Amelie Mauresmo in 2006; among the other Grand Slams only Roland Garros has produced more first-time winners (14); the last player to win their first Grand Slam title was Schiavone at 2010 Roland Garros
Li is bidding for Chinas first Grand Slam singles title but 4th Grand Slam title overall. Two of the 3 previous titles have come at Australian Open with Yan Zi/Zheng Jie lifting the womens doubles crown in 2006 and Sun Tian-Tian winning the 2008 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Serbian Nenad Zimonjic; Yan/Zheng also won 2006 Wimbledon doubles
At 28 years, 11 months, Li is the oldest finalist at Australian Open since Evert, (33 years, 34 days), who lost to Graf in 1988 final. If she were to go on to win the title, she would be the oldest champion since Navratilova (29 years, 1 month) in 1985 Li would become the 5th-oldest first-time Grand Slam singles champion in the Open Era after Jones*, Schiavone, Novotna, Reid. (*Note - Jones also won Grand Slam titles pre-Open Era)
OPEN ERA: FIRST TIME GRAND SLAM SINGLES TITLE WINNERS (BY AGE)
PLAYER, AGE (YRS, MOS, DAYS), Based on End Date FIRST GRAND SLAM TITLE TOTAL OPEN ERA, GS TITLES (SGL)
Ann Jones (GBR)* 30 years, 8 months, 28 days 1969 Wimbledon 1
Francesca Schiavone (ITA) 29 years, 11 months, 14 days 2010 Roland Garros 1
Jana Novotna (CZE) 29 years, 9 months, 3 days 1998 Wimbledon 1
Kerry Melville-Reid (AUS) 29 years, 5 months, 3 days 1976 Australian Open 1
This is Lis 19th major, Clijsters won her first major at 2005 US Open in her 21st Grand Slam tournament; 9 of the 37 Open Era Grand Slam champions played more than 19 majors before winning their first title
Lis best Grand Slam result prior to this years Australian Open was her semifinal finish here last year (d. Wozniacki in 4r, V.Williams in QF, l. S.Williams 76 76)
Last year, Li was 1 of 2 Chinese players (Zheng) to reach the Australian Open SF; it was the first time that two Chinese players had advanced to the QF, and SF, of a Grand Slam; Li was the only one of last years quarterfinalists to again reach the last eight at this years Australian Open
In the first 3 Slams of 2010, Li lost to the eventual champion on each occasion: 2010 Australian Open (SF, l. Serena), 2010 Roland Garros (3r, l. Schiavone) and Wimbledon (QF, l. Serena)
Li is on an 11-match winning streak having won her biggest title to date at Sydney two weeks ago, defeating Clijsters 76 63 in the final, despite trailing 5-0 in the first set, to become the first Chinese player to win a WTA Premier singles title
Li is looking to become the first player since Justine Henin in 2004 to complete the Sydney-Australian Open double; Seles (1996), Hingis (1997) and Henin are the only 3 players to achieve this since 1987 when both events switched to January in the calendar (Hingis went on to win her first 37 matches of the year)
Li dropped her first set at this years Australian Open in her SF victory vs. Wozniacki; it was also her longest match of the tournament so far (2h 45), almost twice the length of her next longest. In her SF Li saved a matchpoint at 5-4 in the 2nd set, and then won 5 of the last 6 games from 1-2 down; 3 women have won the Australian Open in the Open Era after saving match point (Seles-1991; Capriati-2002, S.Williams-2003 and 2005)...
Li is projected to return to Top 10 at a career-high ranking of No.7, when the new WTA rankings are published on Monday. She is projected to rise to No.5 if she wins the title. Li spent 16 weeks ranked in Top 10 in 2010, the first Chinese player to do so; Li entered last years Australian Open, ranked No.17
Li scored her 2nd win against a current world No.1 in SF, and improved to 10-20 vs. Top 5 in her career; since start of 2010, she is 4-4 vs. Top 5 players
Li Na is attempting to become the 38th woman in the Open Era to win a Grand Slam singles title. Since1968 Roland Garros 37 women have won at least 1 Grand Slam title 22 of the 37 winners have won multiple Grand Slam singles titles.
Fourteen women have won their first Grand Slam title at Roland Garros, while 7 have done so at the US Open, 9 at the Australian Open and 7 at Wimbledon. Of these 37 women, 22 won their first title in their first Grand Slam final