Cibulkova thrashes Radwanska
Melbourne - Slovakian underdog Dominika Cibulkova stunned fifth seed Agnieszka
Radwanska Thursday, losing just three games to storm into an Australian
Open final against China's Li Na.
The 20th seed was in inspired
form to rip the Pole to shreds 6-1, 6-2 and not only make her first
Grand Slam final in 26 attempts but also become the first player from
her country to get so far.
"Aga is an unbelievable player and I
expected a tough match. I just knew I had to go for my shots," said the
24-year-old, who has won three career singles titles, including at
Stanford last year where she beat Radwanska in the final.
"I had so many thoughts in my head (during the match) but just focused on my game. I can't believe I'm in a final."
paper, Poland's Radwanska was the clear favourite after beating the
Slovak, an old foe she has been playing since they were nine years old,
in five of their six WTA meetings.
But she was a shadow of the
player that beat two-time defending champion Victoria Azarenka in the
quarter-finals, unable to get in her groove on Rod Laver Arena with
Cibulkova hardly putting a foot wrong.
It was another wasted
opportunity for Radwanska, who has reached the quarter-finals or better
in each of the last four years at Melbourne Park but has failed to push
on to the final.
Before her win on Thursday, Cibulkova had been to
the semis of a Grand Slam once before, five years ago as a 19-year-old
at the French Open.
The short but punchy 20th seed, who ended
Maria's Sharapova's tournament in the fourth round, said before the
match that she was now more mature and ready to take the next step.
showed her intent from the word go, caressing the ball to all corners
of the court as she got off to the best possible start by breaking the
Pole's first service game.
Cibulkova held serve when Radwanska smashed a backhand wide before the fifth seed got into the game by winning her own serve.
The Slovak needed to dig deep to keep her advantage by saving five break points on her next serve, as Radwanska pressed hard.
But the inspired Cibulkova raced to a 4-1 lead when Radwanska hit a feeble backhand into the net.
Pole was making a flurry of unforced errors and was unable to make the
most of any opportunities, with Cibulkova breaking again and wrapping up
the set in 37 minutes.
It didn't get any better in the second set
for Radwanska. She was broken immediately to go 2-0 down on a forehand
crosscourt return, and then blew three break point chances in the fourth
The misery got worse as she dropped 3-0 behind and with the
reward of a Grand Slam final now in her sights, Cibulkova held steady
to take the match, falling to the court in celebration as Radwanska
rushed back to the locker room in shock.