The Chinese superstar and world No. 4 Li Na won her first Australian Open title on her third try, defeating Dominika Cibulkova, 7-6(3), 6-0. This is the second Major title for Li, 31, who won the French Open in 2011. Li is the first player from China to win the Australian Open, and Cibulkova is the first Slovakian to reach the final of any Major.
Cibulkova, 24, ranked 21, and standing just 5’3″, was a surprise finalist. After the tournament saw off the top-seeded Serena Williams and Victoria Azarenka, Li’s draw opened up. But Cibulkova had to personally dispense with Maria Sharapova, rising star Simona Halep, and the tricky Agnieszka Radwanska to reach the final.
Li broke the Slovakian in the first game of the match, but a low first serve percentage and too many unforced errors kept Cibulkova in the hunt. She proved a worthy opponent in a competitive and entertaining first set, which eventually went to a tiebreak. The veteran proved too much for the first-timer, however, whose serve let her down in the crunch. With the first set in hand, Li found her form and never looked back, closing the second set at love.
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