Australian Open Women's Singles Final (Video)
Li Na Captures Aussie Open Crown on Third Try, Defeats Cibulkova in Final
January 25, 2014 ITS Michael Duranceau – After two frustrating runner-up finishes in Melbourne, Li Na finally won her second Grand Slam title at the Australian Open after defeating Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets 7-6(3) 6-0 on Saturday.
Appearing in her fourth career Grand Slam final, the Chinese star halted the Slovakian’s incredible run by dominating the second set after a tense first set tie-breaker. The Wuhan-resident hit 34 winners while limiting her 20th seeded hard-hitting opponent to just 11 winners in the one hour 37 minute contest.
The fourth-seeded Li won the match on Cibulkova’s serve after the 24-year old Bratislavan sent a forehand long. Li realizing it was over, she raised her arms in celebration before climbing into the box seats to hug her husband Jiang Shan and her coach Carlos Rodriguez.
The 2011 French Open champion, Li was 4th seeded cruised through the first two rounds by dismissing a couple of 16-year-olds ranked No.1 and No.2 juniors Ana Konjuh and Belinda Bencic respectively. In the third round, Li survived an upset scare against Czech Lucie Safarova saving a match point trailing 1–6, 5–6 before rallying and completing the comeback win 1-6 7-6(2) 6-3.
Li followed up by beating Ekaterina Makarova in the fourth round then cruised past Flavia Pennetta and Eugenie Bouchard in the quarterfinals and semifinals before edging Cibulkova in the final. With the victory, Li also became the oldest winner of the women`s singles title since Margaret Court in 1973 who was then 30 years old.
She also included herself in the history books with seven other players to win a Grand Slam ages 30 and above together with legends Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert and Serena Williams. The win also means her ranking will move up to No. 3 when the new WTA ladder is published on Monday just below No.1 Serena Williams and No.2 Victoria Azarenka.
Meanwhile, the diminutive Cibulkova, who stands at 5-feet-3, won her first three matches in straight sets then rocked the tournament with an upset win over No.3 seed Maria Sharapova in three sets. She defeated Simona Halep in the quarter-final then followed up with another shocker in the semi-finals over No.5 Agnieszka Radwańska who had upset two-time defending champion and No.2 seed Victoria Azarenka in the last eight.