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Preview: Li Na faces best chance to lift Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup

English.news.cn   2014-01-24 15:10:20

MELBOURNE, Jan. 24 (Xinhua) -- Li Na of China, the fourth seed, will play 20th seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in Saturday's women's singles final.

This will be Li's third Australian Open final in the last four years and also the best chance for the 2011 French Open champion to life the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup and her second major.

Li reached the final at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013 but was denied twice.

In 2011, she led 1-0 against Kim Clijsters in her first Grand Slam final, only to crumble later on.

"I didn't have any experience when I came to the final for the first time. I just felt so excited. So when the problem occured, I can't face them because nobody can help me," said Li on Thursday after her semifinal win over Canadian Eugenie Bouchard.

A year ago against Victoria Azarenka, Li fell, twisting her ankle and hitting her head so hard on the court that she suffered concussion.

"At least I will try not to fall down this time. Because I think I played well last year but I can only say bad luck because I fell down twice," said Li. "At least I will try to enjoy and stay healthy."

But since Margaret Smith Court won in 1973, no woman over the age of 30 claimed an Australian Open crown.

The list of those to have tried and failed includes some greatest players of the past century, such as Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Li herself.

But there is also good news for Li as she has beaten Cibulkova in each of their four meetings.

Li has won eight out of nine sets they have played. The two first played each other way back in 2008 when Cibulkova was only 18 years old. The last time they faced off was last year in the Rogers Cup quarterfinals in Toronto, which Li won 7-6 (7-1), 6-2.

Li also has the edge when it comes to experience. The fourth seed will be playing in her fourth major final, while Cibulkova will be in her first.

"Li has been in the finals of Grand Slam many times. She already won a Grand Slam, so she knows who it is," said Cibulkova.

No.20 seed Cibulkova took out every seed in her path to maiden major final. She dropped only one game to No.16 Carla Suarez-Navarro in the third round and upset No.3 seed Maria Sharapova in the fourth round.

She then dropped three games per match against No.11 Simona Halep in the quarterfinals and No.5 Agnieszka Radwanska in the semifinals.

"It's going to be my first final, so I will just try to enjoy it. I'm really looking forward to the match," said Cibulkova.

"I'm playing finals, so that's something beautiful. It's like a dream. I will just go out there and play my best, try to do my best," added the Slovakian.

Li thought it would a 50/50 final.

"Everyone has chance to win the title," said Li. "Just come to the court, just play. Don't think too much."

Editor: Zhu Ningzhu
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