The fourth round of the Australian Open feautred a rematch of last year’s final and the outcome was the same – Kim Clijsters defeated Li Na. The score 4-6 7-6(6) 6-4 took the Belgian to the quarterfinals, but within those numbers hide four match points, a painful ankle injury at 3-3 in the first set and a gruelling fight of both players.
With her foot thickly wrapped and 2-6 in the second set tiebreak, Clijsters started her big comeback by winning six points in a row to take the match to the third set, which she opened with a 4-0 lead. Li then slowly recovered to 5-4 down, but it was Clijsters who closed out the match to her advantage.
After the victory, the Belgian winner of four Grand Slam titles said that it was one of her best comebacks, while the disappointed Li can live off the number of matches she won in January, a great improvement from her horrible second half of 2011.
Clijsters was the third WTA player to move into the 2012 Australian Open quarterfinals, as Victoria Azarenka and Agnieszka Radwanska eased past their opponent earlier on Sunday. Azarenka beat Iveta Benesova 6-2 6-2, while Radwanska lost just one game per set against Julia Goerges.
Next for Clijsters will be world No.1 Caroline Wozniacki. The Dane reached the quarterfinals by beating Jelena Jankovic, who helped by committing an astonishing number of 50 unforced errors in the encounter. Jankovic did hit more winners than Wozniacki, as is usually the case with Wozniacki’s opponents, but nothing could outweigh those errors, which often had no apparent cause.
The final score was 6-0 7-5 and it was the first time in their eight meetings that Wozniacki bageled Jankovic. Besides their often-mentioned status of “slamless No.1”, and besides their mainly defensive game style, Wozniacki and Jankovic have something else in common as of late – Ricardo Sanchez, who not so long ago coached Jankovic, is now Wozniacki’s coach. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)