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Li Na, Cibulkova set up Australian Open final clash

Melbourne, Jan 23 : Swiss No.8 seed Stanislas Wawrinka Thursday advanced to his career first Grand Slam final after beating Tomas Berdych while China's Li Na will play Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia in the women's singles final.


In the men's singles final, Wawrinka, who won 6-3, 6-7(1-7), 7-6(7-3), 7-6(7-4), will meet the winner of Friday's semifinal clash between 17-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer and 13-time major winner Rafael Nadal.

Two-time runner-up Li took a 6-2, 6-4 victory over Canadian teenager Eugenie Bouchard, who was playing in the women's main draw of a major for only the fourth time.

The experienced Li jumped to 5-0 in the first set with Bouchard only managing to win four points in those opening games. She broke Bouchard three time, winning all by love-game and sealed the first set in 28 minutes.

Bouchard found her range to snatch two games late in the first set and she continued that momentum as she took a 2-0 lead in the second set.

But Li then rattled off three successive games to deny the recovery. She won six of the final eight games to storm into her third Australian Open in four years.

Li made into finals at Melbourne Park in 2011 and 2013, losing to Kim Clijsters and Victoria Azarenka respectively.

Cibulkova, the first Slovakian women to reach a Grand Slam final, took 70 minutes to knock out fifth-seed Agnieszka Radwansha in straight sets.

The Slovakian pulled off one of the shocks of the tournament when she beat third seed Maria Sharapova in the fourth-round and she reproduced that form again to completely overwhelm Radwanska 6-1, 6-2.

Radwanska only converted one of her nine breakpoint chances and made 18 unforced errors while Cibulkova only had eight.

--IANS (Posted on 23-01-2014)

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