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Azarenka beats Li, defends Australian Open title

By John Pye

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, Jan. 26 2013 10:20 a.m. MST

"The things what happened in the past, I did the best thing I could to explain, and it was left behind me already."

The match contained plenty of nervy moments and tension, and 16 service breaks — nine for Li. But it also produced plenty of winners and bravery on big points.

Azarenka 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).

"I wish I can do the same this year, as well," Li said.

Later Saturday, Bob and Mike Bryan won their record 13th Grand Slam men's doubles title, defeating the Dutch team of Robin Haase and Igor Sijsling 6-3, 6-4.

Sunday's men's final features two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic and U.S. Open winner Andy Murray. Djokovic is seeking to become the first man in the Open era to win three titles in a row in Australia.

Azarenka was planning a night of partying to celebrate her second major title, with her friend Redfoo and the Party Rock crew, and was hopeful of scoring some tickets to the men's final.

She said she needed to let her hair down after a draining two weeks and hoped that by being more open and frank in recent times she was clearing up any misconceptions the public had of her.

"When I came first on the tour I kind of was lost a little bit," he said. "I didn't know how to open up my personality. It's very difficult when you're alone. I was independent since I was, you know, 10 years old. It was a little bit scary and I wouldn't show my personality.

"So the (last) couple of years I learned how to open up to people and to share the moments. I wasn't really good before. I hope I got better. It's your judgment."

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