China’s Li Na earned her first title since winning the French Open 15 months ago, beating Germany’s Angelique Kerber 1-6, 6-3, 6-1 to claim the ATP-WTA Cincinnati Masters on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Li rallied from a crushing first-set loss with some superb serving as she won 80 percent of her first-serve points in a dominating third set.
This was her first tournament under new coach Carlos Rodriguez, who only came on board mid-week.
Li ended her fight-back victory with six breaks of Kerber’s serve from 21 chances, with the fatigued Kerber starting to feel the effects of a leg injury.
The Chinese player said she was inspired by Roger Federer’s win earlier in the men’s final.
“I wanted to do the same,” she said. “I was feeling OK on court. I wanted to win this title because this year, I got in the final three times but I never won one title. I was really hungry for the title.”
Li also paid tribute to her new mentor in her victory speech: “Carlos you are the best.” She needed 100 minutes to oust Kerber and her victory means she will maintain her current ninth world ranking.