sport

Na beats Azarenka in play-off

Li Na beat Victoria Azarenka 10-6 in a play-off after the duo shared a set each in a see-sawing invitation match in the Thai resort of Hua Hin.

Li, who became China's first superstar tennis player after winning the 2011 French Open, took the first set 6-3, dominating the world number one on the hard court with her serving and groundstrokes.

Azarenka sprung to life and belted a series of winners as she claimed the second set at a canter 6-2.

But the Australian Open champion, who secured the top ranking when she beat Li in October at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, stumbled in the play-off following a costly series of unforced errors while Li plugged away, probing from the baseline.

"I can beat Azarenka, I think this win makes it around the same for each of us...so we are on a similar level," the world number 7 joked after the match.

The Belarusian Azarenka, who flies to Brisbane from Thailand to prepare her Australian Open defence, conceded she could have been better prepared for the match - which was her second appearance at the invitational.

"I was a bit surprised by the surface... I should have practised a little bit more. It was really competitive today, I am really glad to be back and I can't wait to the start of the season," she said.