|Li Na of China celebrates after winning women's singles semifinal against Eugenie Bouchard of Canada at 2014 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 23, 2014. Li Na won 2-0. (Xinhua/Li Jundong)
MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- Two-time runner-up Li Na advanced to her third Australian Open final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard here on Thursday.
The experienced Li jumped to 5-0 in the first set with Bouchard only managing to win four points in those opening games. She broke Bouchard three time, winning all by love-game and sealed the first set in 28 minutes.
"I just wanted to get into the match a little bit more. I feel like Li was really hitting her shots. I was kind of just letting her do all these winners side to side. It wasn't really my game," said Bouchard.
Bouchard found her range to snatch two games late in the first set and she continued that momentum as she took a 2-0 lead in the second set. But Li then rattled off three successive games to deny the recovery. She won six of the final eight games to set up a final against Dominika Cibulokova of Slovakia, who beat fifth seed Agnieszka Radwansha of Poland 6-1, 6-2.
"I think I played well in the beginning. Second set was a little bit tight because I was feeling one feet already in the final," said Li Na.
"Li played really well. You have to give her credit. All of her groundstrokes were like a foot from baseline and she was very consistent. Even her serves were really solid," said the 19-year-old Canadian.
Li made into finals at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013, losing to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka respectively.
"I think Cibulokova was pretty fast legs on the court. She was also a hitter. We play pretty similar," said Li. "So the final will be a tough match. Yeah, another challenge."
A second Grand Slam title is within Li's reach after the exit of the three seeds above her, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova, but the 32-year-old Chinese found herself pretty calm this time.
"I didn't have any experience by the first time come to final. I just feel so exciting. So when the problems came to me, I can't face to them because nobody can help me," said the 2011 French Open champion. "But now I played more and more and got experience. So right now final is special. but still just one match."
For Bouchard, loss of her first Grand Slam semifinals was not that disappointing as she already made an impressive run through the tournament, including beating 2008 French Open champion and former world No.1 Ana Ivanovic in quarter-finals.
"I'm proud of how I've improved throughout the tournament," said Bouchard. "But I'm never satisfied with losing. I'm always disappointed."