Live Commentary: Li Na vs. Dominika Cibulkova - as it happened

Li Na celebrates after her win over Katerina Makarova in their Australian Open fourth round match on January 19, 2014
© AFP
Relive our live text commentary from the Australian Open women's final, which saw Li Na beat Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets.

World number four Li Na won the Australian Open at her third attempt, beating Dominika Cibulkova in straight sets, 7-6[3] 6-0.

The first set was riddled with errors from both players, who looked nervous, and it was Li who had just about enough to take it in the tie-break.

In the second set, Li's nerves settled and she raced to victory without dropping a game to wrap up her second Grand Slam win of her career.

Read how the action unfolded below.


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8.30amGood morning all! It's almost the end of the Australian Open already, but first we just have the matter of two finals to end matters. Up today is Li Na against Dominika Cibulkova in the women's final, before Rafael Nadal vs. Stanislas Wawrinka on Sunday.

8.32pmLi said after her second-round defeat in the French Open that she was considering calling it a day. However, she didn't and has since reached the Wimbledon quarters, the US Open semis and now another final in Melbourne. With two failures in 2011 and 2013 to lift the trophy you know she will be hugely motivated for this third attempt today.

8.34amA nice warm round of applause for Cibulkova as she comes out followed by a big roar as Li goes to her bench. Could that be a hint to the way that the fans will be leaning today? Of course, with a Slam under her belt, Li will be the favourite, but Cibulkova has been surprising everyone so far this tournament.

8.35amLi wins the toss and opts to receive. That could be a good move, as Cibulkova will be very keen to win some early points and now she has the pressure of her serve to deal with.

8.38amThe 20th-seed (11 in the world if she wins) has had a very different run to the final than Li. Li has yet to play a top-25 player, while Cibulkova has defeated both Agnieszka Radwanska and Maria Sharapova so far.

8.41amThe warm-ups are done, which means we're almost ready to get going. Cibulkova takes the balls and is ready to serve. Let's go!

8.43amThe accurate hitting that we have seen so far from Cibulkova has let her down slightly here early on as she goes long twice for 0-30.

8.44amHowever, two errors of her own from Li mean that the 5'3" player is now level at 30-30.

Li *1-0 CibulkovaBREAK! That's was a good, encouraging, recovery from Cibulkova, who forces Li long again for game point. But she then nets to take us to deuce in the opening game and Li goes wide with a backhand on her first break point. Li gets break point number two with a big backhand down the line and the game ends on a double fault... not the best start for Cibulkova.

8.49amThe match can only improve at the moment. The pair trade errors - both shots long - and we're 15-15 in the second game.

Li 2-0* CibulkovaNeither player has really got going yet, but crucially for Li her start has been slightly better than Cibulkova's. Really key game this for the Slovak; she has to hold here.

8.53amA good point there at 0-15 down - her best of the match so far. She finds the corners with a few forehands and forces the Chinese wide with her shot.

8.53amBut there's that excellent return from Li, who swipes the forehand down the line to put the pressure right back on.

8.55amWhat a big chance for Li to break! She crafted the point but couldn't put away the backhand winner, with Cibulkova eventually passing her on the forehand for deuce.

8.56amThere's that backhand again from Li at game point down. It was a good second serve from Cibulkova, but she then couldn't find the corners which allowed Li in to hit the winner.

Li *2-1 CibulkovaBig, big hold! She had to fend off another couple of break points, but in the end it was two unforced errors from Li to hand the game to her opponent. It was beginning to look as though Li was gaining confidence, but suddenly the errors came back and there have been far too many so far from both women.

9.02amLi's first serve has not nearly been good enough, but there's a let-off as the Slovakian returns a second serve long at 0-15 ahead.

9.02amThird time that Li has hit a clean backhand winner down the line. This one takes her to 30-15 and the driving seat in the game.

Li 3-1* CibulkovaShe gets a huge slice of luck as she hammers the ball into the net and it ends up the right side of it from her point of view. We're still not seeing great tennis here and the crowd has gone quite flat. Li probably cannot believe she's winning the way she's playing at the moment.

9.07amThis is better from Cibulkova, who moves 40-0 ahead - but again only because of two errors from the Chinese. She's yet to really dominate a point and there has barely been a rally so far. However, a double fault and a long backhand allow the Chinese back in...

Li *3-2 CibulkovaBut she doesn't want to be back in, as she goes long with a forehand for 3-2. This is, frankly, dreadful at the moment; there has barely been a clean shot hit. A couple more from Li, and that's why she's slightly in front.

9.10amA sudden improvement with the best rally of the match at 22 shots. Cibulkova works herself on top of it and moves to the net at a good time to put away an easy backhand winner.

9.11amGood response from Li, who went to her opponent's forehand on four straight occasions before forcing the error.

9.12amA double fault from Li means that the Slovakian has her first two break points...

Li 3-3* CibulkovaBREAK! Two doubles in a row! A game that started with such promise ends in the worst possible fashion for Li as she slumps to a lost service game. We're back level.

Li *3-4 CibulkovaFantastic shot from Cibulkova! Li is surely winning a point with a big forehand but an even quicker one comes back to force the error from her. The 20th seed then hits a lovely one-two to set up the game, before another double fault. Not to worry for her, though, as she claims her third straight game to edge ahead in the match.

9.19amMuch better here from Li, who is in control of her service game when she gets the first in. It's 40-15.

Li 4-4* CibulkovaLi wraps up her best service hold of the game, and that was an important one too to stop the rot of games against her. Can she get back into her opponent's serve now?

9.24amWe're at 30-40 here and Li has a break point after a really good effort to reach an attempted drop shot and hit the winner.

9.27amCibulkova battles back to deuce, then gets a streaky net cord of her own for advantage...

Li *4-5 CibulkovaWell it wasn't looking likely for a while, but the Slovakian holds again. Neither woman is playing well, but for now it's Cibulkova who just leads. Really, Li should be a set up with how the match was going early in this set, but instead has to hold to stay in the opener.

Li 5-5* CibulkovaGood play from Cibulkova at 40-15 down, who finds the line to force the error. Can Li hold? Yes! An ace down the T levels us up. As it stands, we're heading to a tie-break.

9.34amAn untimely double from Cibulkova - her sixth so far - gives Li a look in at 15-30.

9.35amWhat a good rally! Li's initial winner is somehow returned into court by Cibulkova, but there's nothing the Slovakian can do about the backhand cross. Two break points.

Li *6-5 CibulkovaBREAK! There it is at the first time of asking. That is surely the crucial break in this first set, and now she just needs to hold. I say just... she's been far too inconsistent up to now for this to be a dead cert.

9.39amAnother good point. Cibulkova defends vigilantly, but after an underhit drive volley she doesn't really need to lob the return, which instead allows Li the chance to hit a forehand winner.

9.41amHold on. Break point Cibulkova as Li horrifically nets a volley...

9.43amLi drags it back to deuce and then yells as she gets break point... A serve out wide sets up the chance for a backhand winner but puts it wide. Odd shot choice there.

Li 6-6* CibulkovaBREAK! Li does throw it away and the Slovakian breaks right back to take is into a breaker. This could go either way, but the momentum I feel is with Cibulkova.

9.45amOr maybe not. Li swats a forehand then a backhand winner to go 2-0 up in the breaker with a serve to go.

9.48amAn excellent point finished off with a controlled volley by Li moves her 3-1 ahead. She did well to keep her nerve following an out call from the crowd a few shots before. Cibulkova then skews wide for a double mini-break Li. 4-1.

9.50amLi breaks off a rally for a challenge and it's just the wrong call as the ball landed millimetres in for 5-2.

9.51amAnd a brilliant passing shot from Cibulkova following an awkward volley attempt from Li. It still needed a great forehand to take the point. the Slovakian then nets, however, and it's set point at 6-3 for Li.

Li 7-6[3] *0-0 CibulkovaSET! Sure enough, Li takes it. That was definitely a forgettable set of tennis - despite it lasting more than an hour - with 25 and 20 unforced errors respectively.

9.55amStrong start to the second set from Cibulkova, who fires a forehand winner for 0-30.

9.56amGreat shot in response from Li, with an in-to-in forehand that her opponent cannot reach, followed by a forced long forehand from Cibulkova to bring us level.

Li 7-6[3] 1-0* CibulkovaThat's an important hold for Li from 0-30 down. She picked up her game and managed to extract a bit of the momentum that Cibulkova had built from her earlier forehand.

Li 7-6[3] *2-0 CibulkovaBREAK! From 30-0 up Cibulkova finds herself break point down and sure enough going for the big cross-court winner puts her forehand into the tramlines. Big advantage now for Li, but she needs to hold to consolidate the break.

10.05amJust as the game looks to be running away from Cibulkova at 40-15, she produces an excellent forehand to stay in this important game.

Li 7-6[3] 3-0* CibulkovaA winner from Li there and she races 3-0 up inside 15 minutes. There's not a lot going for Cibulkova at the moment and if she loses three more games (without coming back) she will taste Grand Slam final defeat. This has been a strong response from Li after a very unconvincing first set. To be honest, she's fortunate she's against a player who has never been in a final or she might well be a set down.

Li 7-6[3] *4-0 CibulkovaBREAK! Not long now... Cibulkova has not been able to eliminate the errors from her game, while Li has to a certain extent. That's made enough difference for Li to be cruising in this second set.

10.13amLi has battled back from 0-30 to 30-30, with the last point really well crafted to set up the mistake following a deep forehand into the corner.

Li 7-6[3] 5-0* CibulkovaIt's starting to come together for the Chinese now. Another really good point sees her work Cibulkova across the court before finishing with an easy net winner. She needs just one more game and her opponent cannot stay with her in this set.

10.17amWhat a backhand from Li, on of the best of the match so far. That's 0-30 and just two more points are needed...

10.18amTwo championship points Li...

Li 7-6[3] 6-0 CibulkovaGAME, SET AND CHAMPIONSHIP LI NA!

10.20amShe's done it! A surprisingly calm and collected celebration from the Chinese, who looks relieved more than anything to have won the Australian Open at her third attempt. It's her second Slam, along with the French in 2011, and she goes over to husband and coach to thank them.

10.21amCibulkova looks close to tears on the bench. Her first Slam experience was riddled with errors and ends in defeat, but she has been brilliant throughout and fully deserved to be here. The lights are dimmed in preparation for the presentation.

10.22amThat's all from us from Rod Laver Arena today. Join us tomorrow for the men's final between Rafael Nadal and Stanislas Wawrinka. Until next time, goodbye!

Li Na celebrates after her win over Katerina Makarova in their Australian Open fourth round match on January 19, 2014
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