China’s Li Na became the oldest winner at the Australian Open on Saturday when she overcame some first-set nerves to evantually steamroll first-time Slam finalist Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(3), 6-0 in Melbourne.
“I’m not old!” said the 31 yearold. “But yeah, at the start of the tournament everyone was talking about age. I would like to say age is nothing. You can still win a Grand Slam. I’m pretty happy about my age. I have experience.”
Her first win in her third Australian Open final adds to her breakthrough Slam win at the French Open.
“I prepared for this one a lot more [than the French],” she said. “Every round and every day I was thinking about what I should do every match. I prepared what I should do for the semis, again for the final — at the French I just went for it and didn’t think about winning or losing. This one, I was really wishing I could do well. And people might not know how hard I was working mentally to make this one.”
She improved to 5-0 career against Cibulkova, breaking early in the first set but giving it right back before rolling in the tiebreak and the second set.
Li lost in the 2011 Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters, and in the 2013 final to Victoria Azarenka.
Cibulkova became the first Slovak to reach a Slam final.
“These were just two fantastic weeks of my life — I think I’m going to cry,” Cibulkova said. “This means a lot for our country and I’m happy I can be the one who can be here for Slovakia. I’d also like to congratulate Li Na, she had a great tournament and deserved this.”
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