Li Na’s play in the second set of the women’s singles final on Saturday night was matched only by her post-match speech after finally securing the Daphne Akhurst Memorial Cup.By Darren Saligari | Saturday, 25 January, 2014
Li Na not only defeated Dominika Cibulkova 7-6(3) 6-0 to win the women's singles title, she also took the prize for the best acceptance speech. Ever.
Straight-up, she thanked agent extraordinaire Max Eisenbud – who also looks after Maria Sharapova's affairs – for making her rich.
"Now I have to thank my team. Max, agent, make me rich, thanks a lot," she smiled as the crowd broke out in laughter.
"OK, now, of course my husband [who is] even famous in China. So, thanks for him he give up everything just to travel with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drink and fix the racquets, so he do a lot of job," she continued.
But there was more to come.
"Thanks a lot, you're a nice guy. Also you are so lucky [you] found me!"
Li laughed, Jiang Shan laughed, Coach Carlos laughed; if Ivan Lendl was there he, well, he probably wouldn't have laughed, but everyone else did.
It's hard to remember a more popular winner than Li, but there were times during the first set on Saturday night when she looked anything but a winner.
Tight, nervous and weighed down by expectation – these three things were written across Li's face.
Unencumbered by such thoughts, Cibulkova had nothing to lose, but lacked the big-stage experience that Li had from winning the French Open in 2011 and playing in two Australian Open finals.
The tense opening set see-sawed between the two as they traded four breaks of serve before it was decided by a tiebreaker that swung Li's way.
The second set, by comparison, was all Li.
Cibulkova kept up the fight but Li had stepped up her game. Her forehand, the crux of so many problems in the first set, was now firing on all cylinders as Li powered to her first Australian Open title.
In the men's doubles final, 14th seeds Robert Lindstedt and Lukasz Kubot overpowered unseeded duo Eric Butorac and Raven Klaasen in straight sets, 6-3 6-3.
For Lindstedt, victory was particularly sweet; this is his first Grand Slam title after losing three Wimbledon finals.
The junior finals were also played on Saturday, with boys' top seed Alexander Zverev defeating second seed Stefan Kozlov, while in the girls' final, fourth seed Elizaveta Kulichkova beat unseeded Jana Fett.
And in the wheelchair singles finals, David Wagner defeated Lucas Sithole and Sabine Ellerbrock beat Yui Kamiji.
What did you say?
"I didn't feeling I was very funny when I was speak. I was feeling this is normal, is the way I have to thank for the team. But after finish they say, ‘Oh, we love your speech’. I say, ‘OK, maybe I make the funny’."
- Yes, Li, you certainly did.
You said what?
"I would like to say I prefer this one really."
Li Na when asked to compare winning the Australian Open with her first major title at Roland Garros.