MELBOURNE, Australia — Down four match points and hobbling with an ankle injury, defending champion Kim Clijsters somehow rallied for a dramatic 4-6, 7-6 (6), 6-4 victory over Li Na in the Australian Open on Sunday.
Clijsters was in pain from the left ankle she twisted in the seventh game. Li was just a bundle of nerves. The French Open champion failed to serve out the match at 5-4 in the second set, but then led 6-2 in the tiebreaker.
On Li's fourth match point, Clijsters played a poor drop shot, the Chinese player tentatively returned the ball almost straight back to her opponent, and was lobbed.
Clijsters won six straight points to take the tiebreaker and the first four games of the deciding set. She then overcame a wobble of her own, losing her serve at 5-2, before finally closing out the fourth-round match on her second match point.