Li Na becomes the Oldest woman since Australian native Margaret Court in 1973 to win the Australian Open (age 31 years and 334 days) in her third consecutive final in Melbourne.
The Chinese fourth seed dominated Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova in the second set of Saturday’s final, after edging the 20th seed in a first set tie break to claim a 7-6 (7-3), 6-0 win at the Rod Laver Arena.
The victory adds a second Grand Slam title to Li’s resume following her triumph at the 2011 French Open.
A nervous opening set from the two players saw Cibulkova, who was making his first majors debut in Melbourne, double-fault twice to give up her serve in the opening game, before the 2013 losing-finalist handed it back to her at 3-1, as the pair made 30 unforced error each.
At 5-5, the Slovak double-faulted again, but Li failed to close it out only for the set to go into a tie-break- the first in an Australian Open final since the Williams sisters in 2002.
The Chinese’s experience began to tell early on in the tie-break, racing into a 5-1 lead on her way claiming it 7-3 in 70 minutes.
She looked to have gathered momentum as the second set began, swinging a winner into the corner early on and was 5-0 up within 20 minutes of the decider.
At this point, a voice from a large contingent of the Chinese fans, who have become so fond of Li in Melbourne, shouted “Come on Li, Bagel her”, which she did, finishing off the match in 92 minutes when Cibulkova, 24, fired over the baseline.