What Happened Last Night: Victoria Azarenka Wins Australian Open, Lakers Win A Game
What did you miss? A whole lot of mediocre NBA action, but also the Australian Open. Let’s get into it!
Victoria Azarenka outlasts Li Na in three sets to win her second consecutive Australian Open
Victoria Azarenka has won her second consecutive Australian Open title, beating Li Na 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 last night, but not without a few breaks for fireworks, two medical timeouts, and a nasty fall by Li.
Li’s first fall was in the fifth game of the second set when she twisted her ankle. She was able to have it taped up and continued playing from there. Her second and more violent spill was during the third set just after play had resumed following a ten-minute pause while fireworks went off for Australia Day celebrations. This time, Li slammed her head on the court. Luckily, the medical staff deemed her fit enough to continue. Unluckily for her, Azarenka won the set and the match from there.
With the victory, Azarenka has her second Australian Open title in as many years, despite the home crowd being decidedly rooting against her. In this final, the crowd was behind Li from the beginning, cheering loudly upon her introduction, as well as when Azarenka committed errors. Azarenka has the last laugh now, though.
Lakers beat Jazz to end four-game losing streak
It only took five players in double figures and a near triple double from Kobe Bryant, but the Lakers finally won a game, pulling away from Utah 102-84 last night in Los Angeles.
Bryant’s statline (14 points, 14 assists, nine rebounds, three steals) was a microcosm of what the Lakers are capable of last night as they put together a balanced offensive and defensive attack to snap their losing streak and finally showing some unity after their highly-publicized closed door meeting Wednesday.
All of LA’s big names were involved last night: Dwight Howard had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Pau Gasol had 15 and seven off the bench, Metta World Peace chipped in five three-pointers en route to 17 points, and Steve Nash scored 15 points with just two assists as Kobe spent most of the game setting the table for everyone else.
Utah was led by Derrick Favors with 14 points (on 7-for-7 shooting) in defeat, though, admittedly, the Lakers were the more desperate team Friday night. Jazz swingman Gordon Hayward said as much afterward: “I could tell they were the more desperate team.” Welp, there you go.
All statistics via ESPN
Photo via PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images