26 Jan 2014

Li takes the extra step to win Australian Open

6:50 pm on 26 January 2014

China's Li Na banished the ghosts of two Australian Open final defeats by overpowering Dominika Cibulkova to win her second major tennis title and give the grand slam of the Asia-Pacific its first Asian singles champion.

The 31-year-old needed a tiebreak to clinch an error-strewn first set but romped away with the second for a 7-6 6-love victory to become the oldest woman to claim the Melbourne crown.

The victory easing the pain of losing both the 2011 and 2013 finals, though Li concedes she almost got ahead of herself.

Famous for her quirky sense of humour, Li did not disappoint after collecting the trophy from Chris Evert by thanking her agent Max Eisenbud for making her rich, as well as aiming another joke at her husband Jiang Shan.

Li said her husband does a lot of jobs - hitting partner, bartender, racket-fixer, saying "Thanks a lot, you are a nice guy. You were lucky to find me."

There were two first-time grand slam champions after the men's doubles finals closed the penultimate day of the tournament when Lukasz Kubot and Robert Lindstedt beat Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen 6-3 6-3.