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Slovakia’s Cibulkova to face China's Li in Australian final


Chinese tennis star Li Na will meet Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova (pictured) at the final of the Australian Open on Saturday, after both women easily swept aside their opponents in their respective singles semi finals.


Cibulkova, 24, became the first Slovakian to reach a grand slam final after steamrolling through the competition.

The Slovak booked her place in the Open final after overwhelming fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska 6-1 6-2 on Friday.

She grabbed three breaks of serve to take the first set with a crunching backhand winner. Poland's Radwanska appeared more focused in the second set but was simply outplayed by Cibulkova, who ran down everything and slammed winners on both sides.

Cibulkova threw her racket in the air and collapsed onto the court in delight when Radwanska netted after 70 minutes.

A day earlier, Li cruised into her second consecutive Australian Open final by brushing aside Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard in straight sets, 6-2, 6-4.

Strong competition from Li

While Bouchard wowed the crowds in Melbourne this year, she was no match for Li on Thursday. It took the Quebecois 13 attempts before she finally won a point on her own serve in Rod Laver Arena.

Bouchard’s game lifted in the second set, and she came through a pivotal second game to take a 2-0 advantage.

But Li rallied back, exploiting the newcomer’s poor serving and delivering fierce shots to defeat Bouchard and claim a ticket to the final.

Li, 31, has reached three Australian Open finals in the past five years, but has yet to claim the grand slam title.

(FRANCE 24 with Reuters, AFP)

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