The final of the 2014 Australian Open will feature two-time Australian Open runner-up Li Na, who will try to triumph at the event for the first time, and Dominika Cibulkova, who has now become the first Slovakian Grand Slam finalist. Both the players advanced to the title match with straight-set victories – Li lost just six games in her semi, while Cibulkova lost even less, just three games.
The first to advance was the fourth-seeded Li, dominating teenager Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-4. The Chinese stormed to a 5-0 lead in just 14 minutes, winning 20 of 23 points, and even though the 30th-seeded Bouchard won four of five games midway through the match, it was Li who closed in straights.
The seed No.20 Cibulkova was in absolute control of her encounter with fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who hit 12 winners to overwhelming 24 unforced errors, while the Slovakian’s differential was positive. Cibulkova started the match by breaking Radwanska’s serve and that was pretty much the way it looked throughout except in the second set when Radwanska managed to approach Cilbukova from 0-4 to 2-4.
Li’s head-to-head record against Cibulkova is 4-0, while their last and only hardcourt meeting was last year in Toronto which Li won 7-6(1) 6-2. (photos: © Neal Trousdale)
As happy and surprised I am to see Domi in the final, I really, really hope Li wins because I don’t want her to retire with just 1 GS won. She deserves more!