Azarenka retains Aussie Open title

VICTORIA AZARENKA successfully defended her Australian Open title following a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over Li Na in the final Saturday night.

The 23-year-old Belarusian will retain the No. 1 ranking she’s mostly held since her first Grand Slam win in Melbourne last year.

Li moved into the top five and is heartened by a recent trend of Australian runner-ups winning the French Open. She accomplished that in 2011, as did Ana Ivanovic (2008) and Maria Sharapova (2012).

Azarenka had generated some bad PR by taking a medical timeout after wasting five match points on her own serve in her semifinal win over American teenager Sloane Stephens on Thursday. She came back after the break and finished off Stephens in the next game, later telling an on-court interviewer that she ”almost did the choke of the year.” Noli Cruz

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