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Li Na, Cibulkova set up final clash

English.news.cn   2014-01-23 21:42:18

(SP)AUSTRALIA-MELBOURNE-TENNIS-LI NA
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) -- China's Li Na advanced into her third Australian Open final here on Thursday and will play against Dominika Cibulkova, the first Slovakian women to reach a Grand Slam final.

Two-time runner-up Li took a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who was playing in the main draw of a major for only the fourth time.

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.

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 storm into her third Australian Open in four years.

Li made into finals at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013, losing to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka respectively.

A second Grand Slam title after winning the French Open in 2011 is within Li's reach after the exit of the three seeds above her, Serena Williams, Victoria Azarenka and Maria Sharapova.

Cibulkova took 70 minutes to knock out fifth seed Agnieszka Radwansha in straight sets.

The Slovakian pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament when she beat third seed Maria Sharapova in the fourth-round and she reproduced that form again to completely overwhelm Radwanska 6- 1, 6-2.

Radwanska only converted one of her nine breakpoint chances and made 18 unforced errors while Cibulkova only had eight.

The 20th-seeded Cibulkova broke Raswanska in the first game of the match and the Polish never recovered. Cibulkova broke twice more and sealed the first set.

Cibulkova sealed her victory after 70 minutes as Radwanska netted and found a place in the record book as the first Slovakian to reach a Grand Slam final.

Radwanska just became the fourth player Cibulkova has beaten with a higher ranking on her way to the maiden major final, after Carla Suarez-Navarro, Maria Sharapova and Simona Halep.

In men's semifinals, Swiss No. 8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka advanced into his career first Grand Slam final after beating Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-7(1-7), 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-4).

Wawrinka will meet either 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer or 13-time major winner Rafael Nadal, whose semifinal will be played on Friday.

 

Editor: Fu Peng
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