She ended a 15-month title drought with this since her French Open triumph last year.
The 30-year-old 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.”
The world no. nine rallied from a crushing first-set loss with some superb serving winning 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. He previously coached former no. 1 player JustineHenin-Hardenne.
The Chinese was completely out-played in the first set and definitely looked out of sorts unable to get through Kerber’s strong defence.
Kerber showed signs of fatigue during long rallies, grabbing her ankle at times. Li broke her serve by winning a 24-point game of the second set, putting her in control.
Li won nine straight games from a set and a game down totake the second set and then a 3-0 lead in the third. All this, with the help and advice of her new coach.
She ended her fight-back victory with six breaks of Kerber’s serve from 21 chances, with the exhaustedKerber starting to feel the effects of a leg injury.
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.
Kerber, looking for her third title this year, appeared to be overcome by emotions due to the sudden turnaround and was close to tears duringdiscussions with her coach.
“She was playing so well. I tried to hit the ball deep butshe was bringing back every ball and also playing the ball sodeep herself, so I couldn’t do anything,” said Kerber.
“I tried, I gave all I could but it was not enough to win.”