Australian Open: Li Na & Kim Clijsters win semi-finals

Australian Open

Li Na & Kim Clijsters, Australian Open: Li Na & Kim Clijsters win semi-finals

Australian Open: Li Na & Kim Clijsters win semi-finals

Li Na became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam singles final with a gutsy win over world number one Caroline Wozniacki in Melbourne.

The ninth seed survived match point in the second set before coming through a tense decider to win 3-6 7-5 6-3 and set up a final against Kim Clijsters.

US Open champion Clijsters repeated her New York win over Vera Zvonareva, this time easing to a 6-3 6-3 victory.

She will now overtake the Russian for the world number two ranking.

The second of the day's semi-finals was a one-sided affair, with Clijsters dominating Zvonareva just as she had done at Flushing Meadows in September.

After the pair swapped breaks of serve at the start of the match, Clijsters moved away with a break at 4-3 following a mishit smash from Zvonareva.

The three-time US Open champion saw out the set comfortably and looked ready to take charge of the second before Zvonareva recovered from 15-40 in the opening game.

Clijsters swiftly made up for that by grabbing the break at the next opportunity, consolidating it with a love hold as Zvonareva failed to make any impact.

The Russian finally had a chance to get into the match with two break points at 4-3 down but two wayward backhands saw the opportunity slip away, and Clijsters went on to seal the win with another break after one hour and 13 minutes.

"It's nice to be in another Grand Slam final here," said the Belgian. "Obviously when you're close and having played a few semi-finals and one final, I think you kind of just tease with that feeling of maybe going the whole way.

"It's nice to be in the situation with the last two standing and trying to finish on top. You know, this is the last match. Just give everything that you have."

In the earlier semi-final, Wozniacki controlled the first set but was eventually ground down as her serve became increasingly shaky.

The 28-year-old Li, who defeated Clijsters at the Sydney International earlier this month after trailing 5-0 in the first set, is yet to be beaten this season and extended her winning run to 11 matches.

But Li will need plenty of time to recover from a two hour 35 minute contest that oscillated between the two players before finally ending with her third successive win over the world number one.

Li opened in aggressive style but Wozniacki's consistent percentage tennis gradually appeared to play on her nerves and the world number 11 handed her a 4-2 lead with a double fault in the sixth.

The ninth seed briefly threatened at 30-30 in the set's final game but could not overhaul Wozniacki's serve and miscued a second-serve return to surrender the opener with her 17th unforced error.

Li's serve was wrestled from her in dispiriting fashion in the third game of the second set as she salvaged three break points, the last with a delicate drop volley, but again conceded with a double fault.

Wozniacki seemed on the brink of victory but Li clawed back match point with a searing forehand before seizing a break point of her own to extend a see-sawing contest.

It was Wozniacki who now felt the pressure of serving to restore parity and she conceded the second set with a double fault.

The pair traded breaks in the third and fourth games of the decider, and again in the sixth and seventh games, but it was Li who held her nerve as she stole Wozniacki's serve for a third successive, and decisive, time before serving out for the win.

Her compatriots Yan Zi and Zheng Jie have won two women's doubles Grand Slam titles in the past, but Li now has the opportunity to take one of the sport's great individual prizes.

"This is good for my tennis career, of course," said Li. "Good for me, good for my team, maybe good for China tennis - I'm not sure.

"But of course this is a good experience for my whole life, because many players, they play a long time, but they never come to the final of a Grand Slam."

Wozniacki said: "Sometimes in matches or in tennis it's one ball that can change everything. I didn't get my match point. From then on, well, she was just better at the most important points. She won the most important one, which was the last one.

"Of course right now I'm sitting here and I wish I would have won the match. It's quite difficult to get through this one. I just need to get back on the practice court and keep working hard. Hopefully I'll get many more chances in the future."

Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed

David Kato

Uganda Gay Activist, Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed

Uganda gay rights activist David Kato killed
A Ugandan gay rights campaigner who last year sued a local newspaper which outed him as homosexual has been beaten to death, activists say.

Police have confirmed the death of David Kato and say they have arrested one suspect.

Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper published the photographs of several people it said were gay next to a headline reading "Hang them".

Homosexual acts are illegal in Uganda, with punishments of 14 years in prison.

The BBC's Joshua Mmali, in Kampala, says it is unclear whether the death is linked to the Rolling Stone campaign but police have said there is no connection between Mr Kate's activism and his death.

The police say that though they have arrested one suspect, the main suspect - who they say lived with Mr Kato - remains on the run.

An MP recently tried to increase the penalties to include the death sentence in some cases.

There has been a recent spate of "iron-bar killings" in Mukono, where Mr Kato lived, in which people have been assaulted with pieces of metal.

Witnesses have told the BBC that a man entered Mr Kato's home near Kampala, and beat him to death before leaving.

His Sexual Minorities Uganda (Smug) group said Mr Kato had been receiving death threats since his name, photograph and address were published by Rolling Stone last year.

Frank Mugisha, the group's executive director, told the BBC's Network Africa programme he was "devastated" on hearing the news from New York.

"He was killed by someone who came in his house with a hammer, meaning anyone else could be the next target."

Mr Mugisha said Mr Kato had recently been concerned about the threats he had received.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has called for a swift investigation into his death.

"David Kato's death is a tragic loss to the human rights community," said HRW's Maria Burnett.

He had campaigned against the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which appears to have been quietly dropped after provoking a storm of international criticism when it was mooted in 2009.
'Extra caution'

Following a complaint by Mr Kato and three others, a judge in November ordered Rolling Stone to stop publishing the photographs of people it said were homosexual, saying it contravened their right to privacy.

Several activists said they had been attacked after their photographs were published.

Mr Mugisha called on the Ugandan government to step up security for gay people.

"We're strongly asking every gay and lesbian and bisexual and transgender person in Uganda to watch out for their security … [they] should take extra caution."

Rolling Stone editor Giles Muhame told Reuters news agency he condemned the murder and that the paper had not wanted gays to be attacked.

"There has been a lot of crime, it may not be because he is gay," he said.

"We want the government to hang people who promote homosexuality, not for the public to attack them."

"Iron-bar killings" were common in Uganda when former leader Idi Amin was in power in the 1970s.

A rapid response police team has been sent to the area and several suspects have been arrested over the killings.

Veteran rocker Bob Seger planning new tour, album

Bob Seger

Tour Bob Seger, eteran rocker Bob Seger planning new tour, album

Veteran rocker Bob Seger planning new tour, album

Bob Seger is finally ready to go back out and show off some of his night moves.

The 65-year-old rocker and his Silver Bullet Band are hitting the road for the first time in 4 years.

Seger’s management and record company announced Thursday in a news release that the Grammy winner and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member will kick off a tour in March — his first since 2006-07.

Dates haven’t been announced.

The statement said fans can expect to hear classics such as "Night Moves" and "Old Time Rock & Roll" as well as songs off a forthcoming new album.

Seger hasn’t released a record of original material since 2006’s "Face The Promise."

He does appear on fellow Michigan resident Kid Rock’s new album, "Born Free." Seger plays piano on "Collide," which also features Sheryl Crow on vocals.

"Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band will once again deliver their thunderous rock and roll show to major cities across North America beginning in March," the release reads.

Success didn’t come fast for the former auto assembly line worker, who began recording in the 1960s but didn’t have a top-10 album until the mid-1970s.

After that, though, hit records and singles flowed out of him: "Still the Same," ”Against the Wind," and perhaps his best-known song, "Old Time Rock & Roll" from 1979, which became a pop culture phenomenon when Tom Cruise lip-synched to it in his underwear on the big screen in "Risky Business."

In the years since, Seger’s trademark dark hair has turned white and he is seen more often at Detroit Pistons games than on stage or in the recording studio.

But that’s about to change with the tour the release said will hit major venues.

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