Li Na beats Dominika Cibulkova to win maiden Australian Open title: As it happened

Updated: 25 January 2014 17:27 IST

Fourth seed and last year's runner up at the Australian Open Li Na won her second Grand Slam title after beating 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova in the women's final in straight sets. Catch all the highlights from the game, as they happen.

(Match scorecard)


Li Na          vs      Dominika Cibulkova

2            Aces            0

3        Double Faults       7

34          Winners        11

30        Unforced Errors        28

5/10 Break Point Conversions     2/3

75     Total Points Won         58


FACTOID: Li Na is now the first player from China to win an Australian Open women's singles crown. (Read match report)


Quotes from the presentation:


Dominika Cibulkova after loss in final: "It's a big moment for me, I think I'm gonna cry....Will thank my coach, my boyfriend for all the support, my family back home. Will congratulate Li Na, she deserved to win."


Li Na after her maiden Australian Open title: Finally I got her, last two matches vs Cibulkova were very close. Thanks to my team, my physio, who is doing a very good job. Thanks to my husband for leaving everything for me. My husband is very lucky.... to have me. He does all the odd jobs like even fixing my racquet.


# Li Na wins her second Grand Slam title and maiden Australian Open after a 7-6 6-0 win over 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova.


# World No.4 taking full control here with a second break of serve against Cibulkova. Li leads the match 7-6 4-0.

FACTOID: The last women's player to lose the 1st set 6-7 and still win the Australian Open title was Chris Evert, when she beat Sukova 6-7 6-1 6-3 30 years ago.


# Li Na firmly in driver's seat now with a 3-0 lead in the second set. She has a total of 6 winners in the match so far.


# Cibulkova showing few nerves as a more confident Li Na has started dominating the court. Cibulkova lose her serve early in the second set to trail 0-2.


# FACTOID: This is the 1st Tie Break in a ladies final at Australian Open since 2003.


# Li Na wins the first set after clinching the tie-breaker against Dominika Cibulkova.


# Li Na fails to make use of a set point and Cibulkova breaks her serve to take the first set to a tie-break.


# A costly double fault from Cibulkova there and Li na gets the break to lead 6-5. Li will serve to win the first set.


# "What a time for an ace," says Vijay Amritraj in the commentary. A 162 kmph ace from Li Na makes it 5-5 in the first set. That, was the first ace of the match.


# A long game including 3 deuces, served out by Cibulkova for a 5-4 lead in 1st set against Li Na. Cibulkova has already 5 double faults.


# It is a full house at the Rod Laver Arena for this women's final. 4-4 in the first set, both Li and Cibulkova have had a break of serve.


# Cibulkova takes the lead for the first time in the game, holds a good service game. It's 4-3 in the favour of the 20th seed.


# Cibulkova earns her first break of serve over Li. It's 3-3 now in first set.


# Dominika Cibulkova gains little bit of confidence, attacking a susceptible forehand of Li Na, makes it 2-3.


# A confident game by Li Na helps her extent her lead to 3-1 in the first set.


# Three forehand errors by Li Na help Cibulkova hold her serve and get on the board. Li Na leads first set 2-1.


#Li Na holds on to her serve, now leads 2-0 in the first set.


#A shaky start from Cibulkova, fails to hold her serve. Li Na with an early break.


#Li Na, who won the first point of the match has earned a break point in the first game.


#Li Na won the toss and she elected to receive from Cibulkova.


Welcome to our coverage of the women's singles final of the 2014 Australian Open. Both players, Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova have made their way to Rod Laver Arena.



Match Preview

Li Na has bitter experience of losing Australian Open finals and she is fired up to go one better against Dominika Cibulkova on Saturday -- but the Chinese trailblazer is taking nothing for granted.

While the world number four is the clear favourite to win a second Grand Slam crown against the Slovak, courtesy of being 20 places higher in the rankings, she knows anything can happen on the day.

"It is the third time, so pretty close to the trophy," Li said, having made the final twice before, in 2011 and 2013, and lost after leading each time. I've got more experience. The final is final, but it's still just one match," she added.

"At least me and Dominika, it's 50/50. Everyone has a chance to win the title. You come to the court, just play, don't think too much." Li was a set up before losing to Kim Clijsters in 2011, and last year she was also ahead against Victoria Azarenka but rolled her ankle twice, banging her head hard on the court the second time.

In Cibulkova, nicknamed the "pocket rocket", she comes up against a player who has used her power off the ground and relentless running to scurry through the draw, dropping just one set.

En route she has accounted for the third, fifth, and 11th seeds in Maria Sharapova, Agnieszka Radwanksa and Simona Halep. In contrast, Li has had a relatively easy run, meeting two qualifiers and no one seeded better than 22. (Read more)

Li Na vs Dominika Cibulkova head-to-head:

Li Na leads 4-0


Toronto - Li won 7-6 (7/1), 6-2


Rome - Li won 6-1, 7-6 (7/4)


Madrid - Li won 6-2, 3-6, 7-5


Antwerp - Li won 6-4, 6-3

Li Na (China, 4th seed) road to the final:

Round 1 - beat Ana Konjuh (Croatia) 6-2, 6-0

Round 2 - beat Belinda Bencic (Switzerland) 6-0, 7-6 (7/5)

Round 3 - beat Lucie Safarova (Czech Republic, 26th seed) 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-3

Round 4 - beat Ekaterina Makarova (Russia, 22nd seed) 6-2, 6-0

Quarter-finals - beat Flavia Pennetta (Italy, 28th seed) 6-2, 6-2

Semi-finals - beat Eugenie Bouchard (Canada, 30th seed) 6-2, 6-4

Dominika Cibulkova (Slovakia, 20th seed) road to the final:

Round 1 - beat Francesca Schiavone (Italy) 6-3, 6-4

Round 2 - beat Stefanie Voegele (Switzerland) 6-0, 6-1

Round 3 - beat Carla Suarez Navarro (Spain, 16th seed) 6-1, 6-0

Round 4 - beat Maria Sharapova (Russia, 3rd seed) 3-6, 6-4, 6-1

Quarter-finals - beat Simona Halep (Romania, 11th seed) 6-3, 6-0

Semi-finals - beat Agnieszka Radwanska (Poland, 5th seed) 6-1, 6-2

Li Na's new role in a Grand Slam: clear favourite

For the third time in the last four years, Li Na is one of the last two women standing at the Australian Open.

But she would have left Australia a week ago if her third-round opponent, Lucie Safarova, had not missed a backhand by 2 inches on match point. The 2 inches, Li said after that victory, saved her tournament. If the shot had been in, Li added, her whole team would have been on the way to the airport.

Li's coach, Carlos Rodriguez, who previously guided Justine Henin to seven Grand Slam titles, called Li's draw "tricky, difficult, stressful." He said Li had been unsettled at the start of the tournament by having to play up-and-coming 16-year-olds in her first two matches.

"She didn't know them, and that put her in a very difficult emotional situation, especially to play the third match," Rodriguez said. "It was very difficult to handle, first, because Safarova played a great match, and second, she was a little bit unstable. And after that match, it's like all the parts are coming together."

The next three victories were impressively routine for Li, who has struggled with consistency for much of her career. She lost only two games to 22nd-seeded Ekaterina Makarova of Russia in the fourth round and only four games to 28th-seeded Flavia Pennetta of Italy in the quarterfinals. Then Li won 20 of the first 23 points against 30th-seeded Eugenie Bouchard of Canada in the semifinals before hanging on for a 6-2, 6-4 victory.

The fourth-seeded Li will enter Saturday's match against 20th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova as the clear favorite. In that way, the match is different from Li's three previous Grand Slam finals, including the one she won at the 2011 French Open.

"That is the difficult thing for her," Rodriguez said of her new status. "You are not the outsider anymore; you are No. 4. And on paper, you are the favorite. How to handle that, and how to get the best of yourself on Saturday, it's new for us. Because in all the finals that she played before, she wasn't the favorite. It's going to be another approach, and another psychological position.

"Don't think about winning the Grand Slam. You know that you're out there to win. Put it on the side, and focus on what you want to do on court in order to try to achieve your goals. It's the most difficult to do because it's like: 'I'm the favorite! I can do it now!' But at the end of the day, it's 50-50." (Read more)

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