Li, Cibulkova and Wawrinka head to Australian Open finals | News | DW | 23.01.2014
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Li, Cibulkova and Wawrinka head to Australian Open finals

Li Na will face off against Slovakia's Dominika Cibulkova in the final of the Australian Open. Stanislas Wawrinka has also reached his first Grand Slam final after besting Tomas Berdych.

China's Li Na gained a 5-0 lead in 14 minutes over her 19-year-old opponent Bouchard on Thursday and finished the match with a 6-2, 6-4 win.

Li, who is ranked 4th seed, is the only major winner and the highest-ranked player still in the running after quarterfinal upsets saw Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova and defending champion Victoria Azarenka's exit from the competition.

This will be Li's third time to the finals in the Australian Open after losing in 2011 to Kim Clijsters in what was her first appearance in a Grand Slam final. In 2013, she lost to Azarenka after falling over and hitting her head twice on the court.

"Last time was a little bit tough. I will try this time to make one more step," Li said. "Tough match of course in the final. I think for sure both will try to fight on the court because it's one more step to take the trophy."

Li will face off against Slovakian underdog Dominika Cibulkova after she ousted Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland in the second semifinal match.

Cibulkova, ranked 20th, bested Radwanska 6-1, 6-2 to make her first Grand Slam final in 26 attempts.

"I still can't believe I'm playing the final. I'll need a few more hours. But I will be prepared 100 percent. I have no words. This is just incredible," Cibulkova said after the match.

"It will be my first final I just want to enjoy it, like I have every match here," she added.

After upsetting Sharapova in the fourth-round, Cibulkova has proven to be the biggest surprise of the tournament.

Wawrinka to the finals

On the men's side, Swiss Stanislas Wawrinka beat Czech Tomas Berdych 6-3, 6-7 (1-7), 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-4) to reach his first Grand Slam final. Wawrinka, seeded eighth, beat Berdych in three hours 31 minutes.

"I'm speechless, it's amazing. I am so happy to win that match to make my first final here," Wawrinka said.

"I am working every day to try and win matches. I didn't expect to make a final in a Grand Slam and tonight it's happened, so tonight I'm really happy."

His finals opponent will be decided tomorrow when Roger Federer faces off against Spain's Rafael Nadal in the second semifinal match. If Federer advances, the result would set up a historic all-Swiss final at a major.

The men's final is to take place on Sunday.

hc/tj (Reuters, AP)