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MELBOURNE, Australia – Li Na made it third time lucky in the Australian Open final, beating Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3), 6-0 on Saturday to become the oldest woman to clinch the title here in the Open era.
Li, who turns 32 next month, lost Australian Open finals to Kim Clijsters in 2011 and Victoria Azarenka last year. In between, she won the 2011 French Open to become the first Chinese woman to win a major.
In both her previous Australian Open appearances, Li won the first set but went down in three. Against Azarenka last year, she stumbled and twisted her ankle, and needed a medical timeout after hitting her head on the court.
She had no such trouble against No. 20-seeded Cibulkova, going on a roll to win the last eight games.