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Li to face Cibulkova in Australian Open final

6:46 AM, Jan 23, 2014   |    comments
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Melbourne, Australia (SportsNetwork.com) - Fourth-seeded Chinese star Li Na and No. 20 seed Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia will square off in the 2014 Australian Open final.

Li advanced to her third Australian Open final with a 6-2, 6-4 victory over 30th-seeded Canadian Eugenie Bouchard on Thursday, while Cibulkova reached her first Grand Slam final with a 6-1, 6-2 win over fifth-seeded Pole Agnieszka Radwanska.

The former French Open champion Li lost to two-time Aussie Open champ Victoria Azarenka in last year's title match and to Kim Clijsters in the 2011 finale.

"I think is the third time, so pretty close to the trophy," Li said. "Yeah, at least I try to not falling down this time, because last year in the final I think I play well but I only can say unlucky because falling down twice. At least I try enjoy and staying healthy."

The 31-year-old Li, won the French Open in 2011, will appear in her fourth Grand Slam final.

Bouchard, who upset 14th-seeded former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic in the quarterfinals on Tuesday, played in her first-ever Grand Slam semifinal.

The 19-year-old Bouchard also became the first Canadian woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal since Carling Bassett at the 1984 U.S. Open.

"I'm proud of, you know, how I've improved as a player throughout the tournament," Bouchard said. "But I'm never satisfied with losing. I'm always disappointed."

Radwanska came into Thursday's match fresh off a victory over Azarenka in the quarterfinals on Wednesday. The Polish star, however, fell to 5-2 lifetime against Cibulkova.

"Yes. Well, when I played very tough match, very high level yesterday, you know, playing the next day is always tough," Radwanska said. "Of course I knew I was the second half playing so of course I wouldn't have a day off. In that case, that day off would be really a lot for me."

Cibulkova has won all but one of her matches in straight sets in this year's tournament.

"When you look at it this way, it is nice for me. I didn't spend so much time on the court. I'm playing in Grand Slam, you know. I'm in the finals of Grand Slam," Cibulkova said.

Cibulkova is the first woman from Slovakia to reach a Grand Slam final.

The Sports Network

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