Our Aussie Open 2011 Women's Singles champion:Kim cleans up well, huh? But couldn't they have chosen a nicer place for this photoshoot?
For the first hour of the women's final, it looked like Kim finally met her match in Li Na, who was was trying to make history by being the first player from an Asian country to win a grand slam singles title. Li was matching Kim's baseline and defense game, and wasn't showing any signs of nerves - which is what I predicted would hinder her from winning the final match. But Kim stayed steady, and slowly worked her way into the match. Kim was a point away from going down a set and a 4-2, but she fought her way back and eventually won 6 straight games, and by the time Li got her game together again, Clijsters already built a good lead and cruised in the last game to claim her 1st Australian Open title, and 4th grand slam singles title overall.
Li definitely acquitted herself well in Australia, not just because she showed that she has the game of a top 5 player (she was on an eleven-match winning streak, including a straight set win
over Kim two weeks ago in Sydney), but she showed that she also had the great personality of a global athletic star. Her post-match interviews (especially the one right after she beat world #1 Caroline Wozniacki) were comedy gold, and she still kept her head high after her loss in the final, which is a good sign that she won't be continuing the rest of the year being deflated about missing this chance.
Back to Kim, she has now won the last two grand slam events and is moving up to the #2 ranking this coming Monday, just 140 points off from Caroline's #1 spot. With Justine Henin's retirement (sad face) and Serena Williams's injury still preventing her from returning to the tour, will Kim be the favorite to win Roland Garros? If she does, that's gonna be her 3rd straight grand slam title, and a win at Wimbledon (where former champs Serena, Venus Williams and Maria Sharapova all are nursing, or playing below their best because of, injuries) will give Kim a career Grand Slam, and her very own Kim Slam.
Suddenly, the WTA Tour got a lot more interesting this 2011.