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Li Na Wins Her First Australian Open Title....

Posted by Jeevan ॐ Mirthu Gupt on January 25, 2014 at 7:25 PM

Li Na can finally call herself the Australian Open champion.

2014 proved to be Li's time after the Chinese star reached the final round of the Grand Slam event on three occasions in the last four years. Having saved a match point earlier in the tournament, she entered this year's final as the favorite.

Standing in her way was No. 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia competing in her first ever major final. Cibulkova got there with multiple upset victories, including two over top five players in Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska.

Though each woman entered Rod Laver Arena beaming with smiles, early nerves were apparent from both once the opening set got underway. As expected, the match would largely be decided on Li's racquet as she tried to keep her winner count high and her errors low. Cibulkova's goal was to stay close with Li and make the No. 5 seed think about what was on the line.

Li got off to a great start by breaking Cibulkova in the opening game. But with Li serving at one stage at only 13 percent first serves, that allowed Cibulkova to eventually break back and level the set at 3-all. The problems continued for Li as her forehand began leaking multiple errors. A now inspired Cibulkova found herself a game away from the set at 5-4.

The ragged contest from both lurched on as Li broke right back thanks to her forehand that started producing winners just when she needed it. Cibulkova, still not backing down, found a forehand winner of her own and earned yet another break. Mercifully for both, a tiebreak was needed to decide it. Li stepped up her aggression and took hold of the breaker with pinpoint returns and winners.

After over an hour, Li finally pocketed the first set 7-6(3).

From there, Li looked like a completely different player. With the tension of the first set over, she settled into her shots that left Cibulkova trying to cope with their pace. Li relaxed even more after going up an early break. Now she was starting to look like the player who cruised through the later rounds of the event.

Swinging with more confidence especially on her favorite backhand wing that alone produced 17 winners, she soon jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead. Cibulkova competed well for someone in her first major final. But the moment Li had waited for was finally here. A mistimed forehand from Cibulkova on a second match point for Li ended the quest.

A relieved looking Li celebrated the 7-6(3), 6-0 victory and with it her first ever Australian Open title.

During the trophy ceremony, Li delivered what could be one of the funnier acceptance speeches in recent memory. - See more at:

Categories: SPORTS, Tennis

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