Li Na wins 1st Australian Open over Dominika Cibulkova

Third time lucky for Li Na at the Australian Open

1/25/14 in Tennis   |   Eric_   |   7716 respect

Blog Photo - Li Na wins 1st Australian Open over Dominika CibulkovaIn the third round, Li Na faced a match point against Lucie Safarova. Safarova would hit the ball just long, and Li would go on to win the match. That was the turning point for her in the 2014 Australian Open. She took advantage of a decimated draw to finally win in Melbourne after two previous trips to the final, defeating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6, 6-0.

Previously, Li had been in the 2011 and 2013 finals, losing to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka respectively. This is her 2nd Grand Slam title, joining the 2011 French Open.

The first set was a little sloppy, both for Li and Cibulkova, who was playing in her first ever Slam final. Despite 25 unenforced errors in the set, Li would win it in a tiebreak. She would cruise in the second set, picking up a 6-0 bagel to win the title.

Despite the loss, it was a great tournament for Cibulkova. The Slovak stands at just 5-3, but still packs power into her shots. She was seeded 20th, and beat four players ranked higher to get to the final, including Maria Sharapova in the fourth round. In the semis, she crushed 5th seeded Agnieszka Radwanska, who the day before looked like a magician in defeating Azarenka.

Li Na, meanwhile, moves up to 3rd in the WTA rankings, and looks like someone who could pick up another Slam this year, especially if Serena Williams continues to look mortal. She also had the best victory speech.

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2/5/14   |   cam_barr   |   1 respect

good stuff