Li wins Shenzhen title

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iol spt jan4 Li Na Reuters Chinese superstar Li Na beat compatriot Peng Shuai in straight sets to win the Shenzhen Open tennis tournament. Photo by: Osman Orsal

Beijing – Chinese superstar Li Na beat compatriot Peng Shuai in straight sets on Saturday to win the Shenzhen Open tennis tournament.

Li, Asia's highest-ranking player in tennis history and the top seed at the WTA tournament, downed Peng, who was seeded fifth, 6-4, 7-5.

Peng, down 4-1 in the second set, streaked ahead with four straight victories to take a 5-4 lead before Li battled back to win the last three games and the match.

Li, 31, was the defending Shenzhen Open champion and the win marked her first ever Women's Tennis Association (WTA) title defence, according to the organisation. She is currently ranked number three in the world.

It also marked her eighth WTA title and the first since her win at Shenzhen last year, according to the WTA.

Her success on the world tennis stage has sparked new Chinese interest in the sport as well as a swell of national pride.

China's state broadcaster CCTV named her rise its number two sports story of 2013.

Peng has yet to win a WTA title and is now 0-6 in finals, according to the association.

In the doubles final, Monica Niculescu of Romania and Klara Zakopalova of the Czech Republic defeated the Ukrainian twin sisters Lyudmyla Kichenok and Nadiya Kichenok 6-3, 6-4. – Sapa-AFP

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