Li pines for Melbourne Park tormentor Clijsters

Sat Jan 12, 2013 11:35pm EST
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Li Na's Melbourne Park nemesis Kim Clijsters no longer stalks the Australian Open draw but her absence is no cause for celebration, according to the Chinese sixth seed.

If anyone should be popping champagne corks in the non attendance of the retired Belgian, it should be 30-year-old Li, Asia's first grand slam singles champion.

Teak-tough Clijsters denied Li her maiden major title in 2011's tense final at Rod Laver Arena, overhauling the Chinese in three sets to win her fourth and final grand slam.

Clijsters returned the following year to inflict further pain on Li, and despite suffering an ankle injury in their fourth-round clash, saved four match points and left her stunned opponent crying at her post-match media conference.

Li, however, said she had hoped to have a chance to exact revenge at her eighth appearance in the Australian Open singles draw.

"Why should I (be) happy? I (was) really looking forward to playing her again," Li told reporters.

"I never have (another) chance to come back, so I'm not happy.

"Every time I play against her, (it's) always (a) tough match. It's a really good challenge for myself."   Continued...