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Li overwhelms Cibulkova to claim Australian Open

By Ian Ransom MELBOURNE (Reuters) - China's Li Na overcame an attack of nerves and weathered a feisty challenge from Dominika Cibulkova before roaring to a 7-6 (7-3) 6-0 victory to win her first Australian Open title on Saturday. Heartbroken as runner-up last year and in 2011, the 31-year-old struggled on serve and battled an errant forehand in a tight first set, before finding her range in devastating fashion to become the oldest woman to win at Melbourne Park.

Tennis: China's Li storms to Australian open title

China's Li Na stormed to her second Grand Slam title on Saturday, battling past brave underdog Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/3), 6-0 to become the oldest woman ever to win the Australian Open. The 31-year-old fourth seed was crowned the Melbourne Park champion on her third attempt after losing in the 2011 and 2013 finals, adding to the French Open title she won three years ago. In doing so, she became the oldest winner of the women's title, surpassing Margaret Court who was 30 when she became champion in 1973.

Tennis: China's Li guns for second Grand Slam title

China's Li Na guns for her second Grand Slam title and her first in three Australian Open finals Saturday against a player who is in some of the best form of her life. The fourth seed, who became Asia's first Grand Slam winner when she was crowned French Open champion in 2011, made the decider at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013, but lost both times. She is determined to go one better against 20th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova.

Tennis: China's Li guns for second Grand Slam title

China's Li Na guns for her second Grand Slam title and her first in three Australian Open finals Saturday against a player who is in some of the best form of her life. The fourth seed, who became Asia's first Grand Slam winner when she was crowned French Open champion in 2011, made the decider at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013, but lost both times. She is determined to go one better against 20th-seeded Slovak Dominika Cibulkova.

Li hoping for third time lucky at Melbourne Park

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Li Na's memories of her previous Australian Open finals are not fond ones as she prepares for a third at Melbourne Park on Saturday against first-time finalist Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia. In 2011 against Kim Clijsters, she took the first set before the Belgian rallied to clinch her fourth, and final, grand slam title. Last year's final was even worse for the Chinese.

Tennis: Bitter experience has Li wary of Cibulkova

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.

Tennis: 'Pocket rocket' aims for maiden Grand Slam

She's known as the "pocket rocket" and the "energizer bunny" and diminutive Dominikia Cibulkova is aiming to hustle and bustle her way to a first Grand Slam title on Saturday. The Slovak, at five feet three inches (1.61m), is the smallest player in the top 50 and if she beats China's Li Na in the Australian Open final she will become the shortest ever Grand Slam champion. Clearly height matters little in tennis, with Cibulkova dismantling the game of statuesque Russian Maria Sharapova, who is almost a foot taller, en route to the decider at Melbourne Park.

Tennis: Li v Cibulkova penpix

Penpix for the Australian Open women's final on Saturday between Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova: LI NA (CHN) World ranking: 4 Birthdate: February 26, 1982 Birthplace: Wuhan, China Residence: Wuhan, China Height: 5ft 7 3/4in (1.72m) Weight: 143lbs (65kg) Plays: Right-handed Turned pro: 1999 Coach: Carlos Rodriguez Career singles titles: 8 Grand Slam singles titles: 1 Career prize money: $13,410,352 Best Australian Open result: Runner-up (2011, 2013)

Brilliant Cibulkova reaches first slam final

By Simon Cambers MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Dominika Cibulkova was almost lost for words after she became the first Slovakian woman to reach a grand slam final by beating fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2 at the Australian Open on Thursday. The 20th seed dominated the semi-final from the start and when Radwanska's final shot hit the net, she threw her racket in the air and fell on her back in delight.

Tennis: Cibulkova v Radwanska semi-final match stats

Match statistics from the Australian Open semi-final between Dominika Cibulkova and Agnieszka Radwanska on Thursday (x denotes seeding): Dominika Cibulkova (SVK x20) bt Agnieszka Radwanska (POL x5) 6-1, 6-2 Time: 1hr 10min Cibulkova - Radwanska 0 Aces 2 2 Double Faults 2 21 Winners 12 20 Unforced Errors 24 6/9 Break Point Conversions 1/9 63 Total Points Won 40 afp
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