Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Cibulkova wins Stanford rematch, gains Aussie final

   Stanford was no fluke.
   Less than six months after edging Agnieszka Radwanska in the Bank of the West Classic final, 20th-seeded Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia demolished her fifth-seeded Polish rival 6-1, 6-2 today to reach the final of the Australian Open in Melbourne.
   Radwanska, the 2012 Wimbledon runner-up, might have suffered a letdown after ousting two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka the previous day.  
Li Na will face Dominika Cibulkova in the final of
the Australian Open. 2012 photo by Paul Bauman
   Cibulkova improved to 2-5 against Radwanska, including a 6-0, 6-0 loss in the Sydney final last January.
   Only 5-foot-3 (1.61 meters), Cibulkova will face fourth-seeded Li Na of China in the Australian Open final. Li, 31, ended the surprising run of 19-year-old Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, the 30th seed, 6-2, 6-4.
   Li seeks her first Australian Open title in her third final. The 2011 French Open champion, she lost to Kim Clijsters in Melbourne that year and to Azarenka last year.
   The 24-year-old Cibulkova, who compensates for her small size by training six or seven hours a day, will appear in her first Grand Slam final. 
   ESPN analyst and International Tennis Hall of Famer Chris Evert called Bouchard, who's coached by former Stanford All-American Nick Saviano, "the future of women's tennis."
   Bouchard won the Wimbledon junior singles and doubles titles in 2012 and the doubles crown there in 2011. She was named the WTA Newcomer of the Year in 2013.
   Bouchard played in the Sacramento area twice last July as a member of the Texas Wild of World TeamTennis. She went 1-4 in her sets as the teams split. 

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