li naTwo-time runner up Li Na finally won her first Australian Open women’s singles title here Saturday after beating Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(7- 3), 6-0 in the final. The Chinese tennis sensation also became the first Asian singles winner at Melbourne Park.

The fourth seed fought 70 minutes to take the first set through a tiebreak. She broke Cibulkova’s serve in the opening match but made two double faults in the sixth game which allowed Cibulkova to break back.

The two players broke each other once again in the 11th and 12th game of the first set and forced a tiebreak. Mini-breaks were exchanged in the tiebreak before Li served out to win the first set.

Cibulkova, the first Slovakian to reach a Grand Slam final, found herself helpless in the second set as she failed to hold serve. Li improved her consistency and concentration to break Cibulkova three times and thrashed her opponent 6-0 to claim the crown.

Li, who became the first Asian to win a singles Grand Slam title at the 2011 French Open, made it to the Australian Open final in 2011 and 2013.

In 2011, she led 1-0 against Kim Clijsters in her first Grand Slam final, only to crumble.

A year ago against Victoria Azarenka, Li fell, twisting her ankle and hitting her head so hard on the court that she suffered concussion.

“The last two times were close,” said Li Na. “Finally I can have this.” IANS