Fitzgerald Cecilio

Melbourne, Australia

Victoria Azarenka bagged her second career Grand Slam championship after gutting out a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Li Na in the women's singles final of the Australian Open on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

Azarenka, who recently drew criticism from fans and writers after taking a questionable medical timeout in her semifinal win over American Sloane Stephens, once again overcame great odds to defend her Australian Open crown.

After losing the hard-fought first set to surging Li Na, Azarenka sustained her composure and came through with big shots at the right time to force a deciding set.

Hampered with sprains on both ankles, Li Na courageously fought Azarenka point-by-point in the decider but the Belarusian beauty had enough gas in the tank to finish off the match.

Despite the loss, it has been an impressive campaign for Li after failing to advance beyond the fourth round in all Grand Slam tournaments last year.

The hiring of Carlos Rodriguez also helped the Chinese tennis get back to competitive form, allowing her to win the WTA tourney in China and reach the semis of Sydney International.

Azarenka further solidified her grip on top of the WTA rankings

Victoria Azarenka Fends Off Li Na to Defend Australian Open Title