Sport Tennis Li Na takes experience edge into Australian Open final

Li Na takes experience edge into Australian Open final

Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Cibulkova revelling in underdog status
• Brute force: Nadal overpowers Federer, again
• Disgruntled Federer hits out at Nadal’s grunting
• The Daily deuce: Day 12

China’s Li Na will have experience on her side this time, as she seeks an Australian Open breakthrough triumph in her third appearance in the final.

Li, the world No.4, will face Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova, the world No.24, in Saturday night’s decider.

Cibulkova is in her first grand slam final.

That’s a big change from Li’s opponents in her previous two Melbourne Park finals.

In 2011, the Chinese came up against former world No.1 Belgian Kim Clijsters, who won in three sets to pick up her fourth grand slam trophy.

Last year, Li took on Belarusian then-world No.1 Victoria Azarenka, who also won in three sets to make it back-to-back Australian Open triumphs.

But on Saturday night, it will be Li, the 2011 French Open champion, who holds the edge in both ranking and experience on the biggest stage.

Cibulkova, though, has already claimed some big scalps to reach the final.

She beat former champion Maria Sharapova in the fourth round and thrashed fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semi-finals.

In contrast, the highest-ranked player Li has faced on her way to the final is Russian 22nd seed Ekaterina Makarova.

The men’s doubles final will be played later on Saturday night, between two pairings playing together for the first time at a major.

American Eric Butorac and South Africa’s Raven Klaasen ousted high-profile Australian pair Pat Rafter and Lleyton Hewitt in the first round and also downed top seeds Bob and Mike Bryan on their way to the final.

They’ll face Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Swede Robert Lindstedt, who had never won an ATP Tour-level match together before this event.