Saturday, January 25, 2014

2014 AUS OPEN: Li Na Wins 2nd Major Title!

As I predicted, Li Na won her 2nd major title by defeating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(3) 6-0 in the final of the 2014 Australian Open. Li was playing in her 3rd final in Melbourne in the last four years and had previously won the 2011 French Open.

Amazingly, Li had faced a match point against Lucie Safarova in the 3rd round and became only the 4th woman to survive a match and win the tournament.

The first set was a scratchy affair, with Li going up an early break and held serve to go up 2-0. She had chances to up 3-0 but was not able to get the break. After that, Cibulkova settled down and eventually evened up the match at 3-all as Li could not buy a first serve. (At one point her service percentage was 26%, and included a double fault on breakpoint down.) The next few games went on serve and the key point in the match was when Li held at 4-5 and also when Li broke to go up 6-5 and could not serve out the set despite holding a set point.  Instead she was broken again and forced into a tie-brea, which she was able to win 7-3. After that, her service percentage rocketed to 75% and she gained in confidence and started hitting winners from all over the court, while Cibulkova started missing more. The result was a lightning fast 6-0 second set and Li became the 2014 Australian Open singles champion.

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