Li Na first became the first Chinese woman to make Miami semifinals and now she’s the first to reach the tournament finals, by beating Dominika Cibulkova in a thriller. The statistical peculiarity of the match was that both players had negative winners-to-errors differentials – Li -10 (33-43) and Cibulkova -12 (23-35).
Li’s head-to-head record against Cibulkova is now 7-0, but those wins were far from easily earned and that was also true for Thursday’s semifinal – Cibulkova ran off with six straight games to take the second set and then even earned a 3-1 lead and a point for 4-1 in the third set. That’s when Li fired back and won 7-5 2-6 6-3.
The Sony Open Tennis final will feature the top two seeds as the second-seeded Li faces world No.1 and top seed Serena Williams. Earlier in the day, Serena ousted Maria Sharapova for the
thousandth fifteenth time in a row. Serena’s head-to-head record against Li is also impressive – it’s 10-1, and the American scored victories in their last nine meetings. (photo: © Neal Trousdale)