On third try, Li cruises to Australian Open title

Home > Sports > Football

print dictionary print

On third try, Li cruises to Australian Open title

테스트

Li Na

Seven months after giving retirement a serious thought, the third time in an Australian Open final was the charm for Li Na with a 7-6 (3), 6-0 win over Dominika Cibulkova to become the oldest women’s champion here in the Open era.

Li, who turns 32 next month, lost in the finals to Kim Clijsters in 2011 and to Victoria Azarenka last year. In between, she won the 2011 French Open in one of many firsts she’s established for Chinese tennis.

Widely popular at Melbourne Park for her funny post-match interviews and wisecracks about her husband and his snoring, Li didn’t disappoint the Rod Laver Crowd in her first victory speech.

She first thanked her agent, Max, “for making me rich,” her coach, Carlos Rodriguez, and then her husband, former coach and constant traveling companion, Shan Jiang.

She told him he was “even famous in China.”

“So thanks for him give up everything just traveling with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drinks, fix the racket. So thanks a lot, you are a nice guy,” she said, pausing for the laughter. “Also you are so lucky, find me.”

In both her previous finals at Melbourne Park, Li won the first set but went down in three. Against Azarenka last year, she stumbled and twisted her ankle, then needed a medical timeout in the third set after hitting her head on the court.

She had no such trouble against No. 20-seeded Cibulkova on Saturday night, racing through the second set in 27 minutes after taking the first in a tiebreaker.

Li’s supporters were everywhere in the crowd, some with Chinese flags painted on their faces, others holding Chinese flags or giant signs painted with Chinese characters.

Her fans got her through the nervous first set, chanting, “Li Na, Let’s Go,” in Mandarin during every changeover.

Li opened the final by breaking Cibulkova, holding, then getting a breakpoint chance in the third game. But Cibulkova held, and then broke back in the sixth game thanks to Li’s consecutive double-faults. Li broke in the 11th game and had a set point serving for the set in the 12th, but lost three straight points to ensure it went to the tiebreaker.

As Li began her roll in the second set, someone yelled - before Cibulkova served - “C’mon Li Na, bagel her!” She did.

A half hour later she was holding up both thumbs to the crowd, and holding back tears as she hugged her Slovakian rival at the net. She went immediately to the side of the court to shake hands with her coach, Rodriguez.

The diminutive Cibulkova, one of the shortest players ever to reach a Grand Slam final at 1.61 meters (5-foot-3), had four wins over the top 20 players on her way to the final, including a fourth-round upset of third-seeded Maria Sharapova and a straight-sets semifinal trouncing of No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska.

AP

More in Football

All still to play for as K League enters its final weekend

Son gets winner against Burnley to become EPL top scorer

Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors are one game from K League title

Despite goal from Son, Spurs finish with disappointing draw against West Ham

Korean senior squad beats juniors in special exhibition match

Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)

What’s Popular Now