MELBOURNE, Australia — Li Na finally made good on her quest to win her favorite Slam. The No. 4 defeated Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3), 6-0 to win the Australian Open and notch her second Slam title, all at the ripe old age of 31. Her experience of having fallen short in the final in two of the last three years paid off, as she was able to withstand her own bout of nerves in the first set to eventually roll to the title. She will ascend to No. 3 when the new WTA rankings come out on Monday, just 11 points behind No. 2 Victoria Azarenka.
You would be hard-pressed to find a more likable champion than Li and this win was well-earned, a reflection of her maturity and belief in herself.
Here are some of our favorite photos from the women’s final:
After falling short twice, the Daphne Akhurst trophy was finally Li’s. (Scott Barbour/Getty Images)
Li absolutely slayed in her victory speech. She’s always got one more zinger to zing. (Aaron Favila/AP)
Cibulkova trained at Chris Evert’s academy during the off-season and the two-time Australian Open champion was on hand to present the trophies. (SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Her celebration after match point was more relief than exuberation. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
It’s a rare sight for Li to be the taller of the two players on court. (Greg Wood/AFP/Getty Images)
Let’s not forget Cibulkova’s incredible run to become the first player from Slovakia to make a Slam final. She beat four top-16 seeds to get there. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
The net work was kept to a minimum. (Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
Carlos Rodriguez believed in her, which in turn meant Li believed in herself. Li may be thanking her agent, Max Eisenbud, for making her rich, but his biggest contribution to her career was bringing on Rodriguez. (Scott Barbour/AP)
You couldn’t wipe that smile off her face as she did her post-win media rounds. (GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)