Wimbledon.com's highlights from the thirteenth day of play at the 2014 Australian Open at Melbourne
Heart of a champion
She was introduced as the most popular champion the Australian Open has witnessed. Five minutes later, acceptance speech delivered, she had earned the label. Li Na, the first Asian winner of the Australian Open, charmed the crowd and charmed the world with her off beat quips, turning a serious occasion into a comedy act. Just as well she knows how to play tennis, too. She was not at her perfect best for the first set, struggling a little with nerves, with the occasion, broken back twice in the early proceedings. But as soon as she claimed the tie-break, 7-3, to settled down, relaxed, and hit freely. Her backhand in particular was on point, her forehand calmed itself, her net approaches were as exemplary as they have been all tournament. A 7-6(3), 6-0 winner, Li won her second Grand Slam title with a beaming smile, ready for it, deserving of it. Now we wonder, how many more will there be?
“Of course beginning of the match I think both of us was tight, nervous. Also like I don't think I have very good first serve, as well,” Li said.
“But I really happy. I try to do the best on the court, to try to hang in there to see all what I can do on the court.
“I really, so proud myself.”
Cibulkova stands up
She may be only 5ft three, and she may have been soundly beaten, but Dominika Cibulkova gave a decent account of herself in her first Grand Slam singles final, in demeanour if not in tennis. Her serve, in particular, was not what it was when she beat Maria Sharapova and Agnieszka Radwanska, but in the main, she was simply beaten by a superior opponent. But she is only 24, will rise from world No.20 to No.13, and has already earned double her 2013 prize money. There’s plenty more to come.
“It was my first Grand Slam finals and I'm just proud with the way I handle it. You know, I just went on the court. I wanted to play my best tennis. It wasn't easy against her because she was playing extremely well,” Cibulkova said.
“I'm 24 years old and already play in Grand Slam finals. I feel like my game is there to challenge the biggest names, you know, to beat them, so why not?”
While the whole of China and the whole of Slovakia (by and large), watched Dominika Cibulkova and Li Na go head to head, there were two people from each country not watching. Their mothers. They get too nervous, apparently.
Fourth time lucky
If the third time was the charm for Li Na, it was the fourth for Robert Lindstedt of Sweden, who finally won a Grand Slam title in the men’s doubles alongside Lukasz Kubot. Beating Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen, 6-3, 6-3, Lindstedt sat down and cried. He had lost three Wimbledon finals before, the last one reducing him to smashing up all his rackets. Good things come to those who wait, it shows. Or, just keep trying.
One to watch
Elizaveta Kulichkova. The young Russian completed the double double of girls’ singles and doubles at this Australian Open, beating Croatia’s Jana Felt 6-2, 6-1.
Meanwhile Alexander Zverev, the top seed, had little difficulty in beating the injured Stefan Kozlov, 6-3, 6-0.
Nickname of the day
“The little onion”
Video of the day
Quote of the day
"Max agent, make me rich. Thanks a lot."
Li Na knows what’s up.
Stats of the day
The number of followers Li Na has on Weibo. Four times the population of Slovakia.
What to watch on Sunday
ROD LAVER ARENA
4pm – Mixed doubles final
Kristina Mladenovic & Daniel Nestor v Sania Mirza & Horia Tecau
7.30pm – Men’s singles final
Rafael Nadal v Stanislas Wawrinka
For all the reports and results from Melbourne Park, visit the Official Australian Open website
20:24...But boy, it was a barrow-load of fun. I hope you enjoyed it even half as much as we did. Thank you for all your messages throughout, you've been the glue holding us together as the edges frayed amid the madness. Now if you'll excuse me, it's time for us Brits to raise a toast to Andy Murray and Fred Perry. British sporting legends both.
20:19It was the wackiest of Wimbledons with the most unlikely of headline-makers: Sergiy Stakhovsky, Steve Darcis, Michelle Larcher de Brito, Kimiko-Date Krumm, Jerzy Janowicz, Sabine Lisicki, Marion Bartoli...View all