In one of the most dramatic tournaments in years, tennis phenom and World’s No. 1 female tennis player Victoria Azarenka captured her second straight Australian Open victory by beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 in the Women’s Finals.
Li played valiantly in the final matchup of the tournament, but two separate injuries during the match with Azarenka—a twisted ankle and a fall that saw the Chinese star hit her head on the court—doomed the veteran player.
While it was Azarenka that abused the ability to call an injury timeout when she was rattled in her semifinals matchup with American Sloane Stephens, the Belarusian’s consistency despite two medical stoppages against Li in the finals proved she deserved the win despite the controversy.
What It Means
It’s amazing that Azarenka has not received more attention for the excellent run she has been on over the last two years, but her actions against Stephens will not win her any fans.
The 23-year-old’s medical stoppage in the semifinals was unwarranted and the move was clearly made because Azarenka was melting down mentally. With 10 minutes to collect her thoughts, the world’s No. 1 player came out ready to win again.
There have been many analysts who called the star’s exit from the court for no other reason than to rest and collect her thoughts "bush league," but there is no rule that prevents what Azarenka did.
If tennis fans have such an issue, they must vote to change the rule; it’s that simple.
Azarenka is now a two-time defending Australian Open champion and a two-time Grand Slam champion, but the young star will be looking for even more as she enters the prime of her tennis career.
Both Li and Azarenka will have to move on from the results of this matchup and start mentally preparing for the next Grand Slam tournament on the schedule, the 2013 French Open.
As the 2013 season progresses, Azarenka is also the defending champion in five other tournaments and will look to continue what has been a very successful career thus far.