Azarenka v Li | Australian Open Preview
Defending champion Victoria Azarenka will be taking on Na Li and the Australian crowd in the Australian Open final after the Melbourne public repeatedly voiced their displeasure at the Belarusian's continued need for medical treatment. In her semi-final against Sloane Stephens.
At one point Azarenka left court for almost ten minutes with what appeared like stress, after America's Stephens had saved five match points.
Sixth seed Na Li is looking to win a second Grand Slam title and emphatically saw off Maria Sharapova 6-2 6-2 in the first semi-final. The 2011 French Open winner may just have the advantage over her opponent going into the first Slam final of the year. Both emotionally and physically fresher than Azarenka, this could turn out to be a massive game for both.
The match betting for this one sees Victoria Azarenka installed as the narrow favourite at 4/6, in comparison to the 6/5 on offer for China's Li Na.
By reaching the final, Azarenka retains her No. 1 ranking, but has said that's not her focus.
''I'm really hungry to defend my title,'' she said. ''That is my first goal ... to win the tournament.''
Li Na's charge into the semifinals at the Australian Open was done so without dropping a set. After beating No. 4-ranked Agnieszka Radwanska in the quarterfinals she secured herself a return to the top five in the rankings. Another straight sets win over Sharapova ensures she will be starting the final in high confidence.
Victoria Azarenka leads the head to head between the two players and has triumphed on each of the last four meetings. Two of those matches have resulted in straight sets wins, and a 2-0 Azarenka victory can be backed at 7/4. 2-1 Azarenka is 11/4 while both 2-0 and 2-1 Na Li can be backed at 3/1.
The Total Match Games betting is set at 5/6 for Over/Under 21.5 games.