Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova roads to the 2014 Australian Open final

Dominika Cibulkova’s road to the final

Dominika Cibulkova

Round Opponent Score
R1 Francesca Schiavone 6-3 6-4
R2 Stefanie Voegele 6-0 6-1
R3 Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1 6-0
R4 Maria Sharapova 3-6 6-4 6-1
QF Simona Halep 6-3 6-0
SF Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2

If 2011 French Open champion and 2-time Australian Open finalist Li Na was one of the favorite for the title, the presence of the diminutive Cibulkova in final was all but expected.
Ranked 24, her best result at a Grand Slam so far had been a semi-final at Roland Garros in 2009.

Cibulkova has won all but one of her matches in straight sets, including three in one hour or less. She is looking to become the first player outside the top 10 since Serena Williams seven years ago to win in Melbourne Park.

Li Na’s road to the final

Li Na

Round Opponent Score
R1 Ana Konjuh 6-2 6-0
R2 Belinda Bencic 6-0 7-6
R3 Lucie Safarova 1-6 7-6 6-3
R4 Elena Makarova 6-2 6-0
QF Flavia Pennetta 6-2 6-2
SF Eugenie Bouchard 6-2 6-4

Li Na has reached the Australian Open final for the third time in four years: she lost to Kim Clijsters in 2011, a few months before capturing her maiden Grand Slam title at Roland Garros; and she was defeated by Victoria Azarenka in another thrilling match last year.

Li Na was pushed to the brink in the third round by Lucie Safarova, who had a match point to win in straight sets. An unforced error by Safarova allowed the world number four, back into the match and the tournament.

Li Na – Dominika Cibulkova head to head
Year Tournament Surface Winner Score
2008 Antwerp Carpet Li Na 6-4 6-3
2010 Madrid Clay Li Na 6-2 3-6 7-5
2012 Rome Clay Li Na 6-1 7-6(4)
2013 Toronto Hard Li Na 7-6(1) 6-2

Li Na appears as the huge favorite of this final: she’ll play her fourth major final overall and Cibulkova only managed to win a set in their four previous meetings.

Who will win between Li Na and Dominika Cibulkova? Please share your thoughts.

Photo credit: Ben Solomon/Tennis Australia

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