Saturday, January 25, 2014

Li Na makes it third time luck down under

Li Na overcame early nerves to win the Australian Open in straight sets against surprise finalist Dominika Cibulkova. Going in to the final there was potential for Cibulkova to complete the dream run following her earlier shock wins over Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka  Radwanaka. Today it was however not to be for Cibulkova who lost against the mighty Chinese player.

The first set was at times patchy for both players. Li got off to a solid start by breaking a tentative Cibulkova in her first service game. Cibulkova finally began to settle down and eventually broke back with the aid if Li producing two double faults on a row. Putting the visible nerves aside there was great shots produced by both players throughout the first set. Li did have a chance to take the set whilst serving at 6-5 however she was unable to as Cibulkova fought hard to take it to a tie break. In the tie break it was all about Li Na who took a commanding 5-1 lead early in the two break to give enough of a margin to take the tie break 7-3. 

Fresh with confidence after taking the first set. Li Na never looked back in a almost perfect second set. Producing outstanding back hand winners as well as deep forehands. The Chinese superstar surged to a almost faultless set to take it 60 and the championship to the delight of the crowd. In the second set alone Li produced 12 winners, 78% of first serves in and 80% of points won at the net. This was a significant improvement for Li compared to the tentative first set.This is now Li's second Grand Slam title after her French Open title back in 2011.

In the after match interview. The obviously emotional runner up Cibulkova said:-
"This was a fantastic two weeks of my life. I think I'm going to cry"

As for Li Na she addressed her after match win with typical Li Na humor to the delight of the crowd. Some of the one liners she said after receiving the trophy included:-

Thanks to the agent for making me rich.”
In reference to her husband - “Thanks for him giving up everything and for being my hitting partner. Thanks your a nice guy and so lucky”
There was also a insight by Li which signalled that she won't be retiring any time soon when she said “So happy I can win the title her. I can not wait to come back.”.

This truly was a well deserve win for Li Na who finally wins the title after coming so close on two previous occasions. This also means that Li Na will be making a big step towards the world number 2 spot in the rankings. 

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