China's Li beats Zakopalova in Shenzhen final
Date published :
05 Jan 2013 - 17:46:57
Chinese star Li Na captured her seventh career title and second on home soil when she beat Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 1-6, 7-5 on Saturday in the Shenzhen Open final.
The world number seven and the competition's top seed had lost two of the pair's three previous meetings and suffered some final set jitters at the $500,000 tournament when she allowed the fifth-seeded Czech to come back from 2-5 down to 5-5.
But Li closed out victory with two quick games.
Li's previous victory in China came at Guangzhou in 2004 that made her the first Chinese player ever to win a tour trophy.
Her other five WTA titles came at Gold Coast in 2008, Birmingham in 2010, Sydney and the French Open in 2011 and Cincinnati in 2012.
"Klara played well and I managed my mood swings well, and I'm glad I made it," Li said as she continued her build-up to the opening Grand Slam event of the year, the Australian Open which starts in Melbourne on January 14.
"Winning the title certainly helps boost my confidence for the coming weeks, but it also depends on how I'm playing on the courts. Confidence itself won't guarantee a win.
"But I'm very happy to win and the Shenzhen Open was a great tournament - I believe it will get even better in future years."
Zakopalova is now 2-10 in WTA finals, but she has the consolation of knowing that she is projected to rise from her current world ranking of 28 past her career-high of 26, which she set back in 2006.
"It was about a few points today but she really proved she's a top player - she played her best from 5-all," Zakopalova said.
"She's playing unbelievably fast and flat, and she's hitting her backhand down the line very well. To me she's one of the top three players right now and I hope she can make it there.
"There's no way to be sad about losing -- I lost to a top player and I'm happy to reach the final."