(January 23, 2014) MELBOURNE – Dominika Cibulkova has decided that the Australian Open 2014 is a tournament in need of new blood, continuing on her absolutely stellar run at Melbourne Park this year to trounce world No. 5 Agnieszka Radwanska in swift fashion, 6-1, 6-2, to secure a place in what will be her debut Grand Slam final.
From the moment she placed a single foot on the court to the moment she exited the stadium, Cibulkova was all over each and every point and with a degree of focus and determination seemingly like no other.
The Slovakian dictated play in a major way and in barely over half an hour, she had already closed out the first set on a break, 6-1.
Radwanska was, all the while, too passive as she failed to match the level of aggression coming from the other side of the net. She found it difficult to keep motivated once down a break in the second as Cibulkova defended any small chance she had at making a comeback on the scoreboard. What was more, was that the Pole only managed to win half of her points on her first serve and an abysmal 13 per cent of points upon her second.
The energetic Slovakian did not give Radwanska any time to readjust her game as she powered through the next set, 6-2.
Upon the last point whereby Radwanska made an untimely forehand error, Cibulkova fell to her knees, clutching her head in her hands in relief knowing that she had just set up her first Grand Slam final.
“It was not easy when I was up in the second set,” Cibulkova admitted.
“The thought started to come that I could win, the result and everything. I have to say, I was 100 per cent ready for it and I was just doing what I had to do. That’s why I won. It wasn’t easy because against her you have to earn every point, you have to do the right thing, and that’s what I did.
“Today I was doing everything right. I was going for my shots. I was just doing everything perfect.
“I’m the first (Slovakian) female tennis player playing in the final. We are like five or six million, and they are all cheering for me. So, yeah, it’s big.”
Extraordinarily quick on her feet, her little legs move speedily to reach low balls, so much so that it seems bizarre that a little woman such as herself could harness such incredible energy levels to outrun her opponents of greater stature.
“It’s not about how tall are you. Even if you are tall, it doesn’t mean you are 100 per cent going to make it. It’s just that you have to really want something and just believe in it. There is nothing more important than this.”
This semifinal victory instigates a grand final clash with world No. 4 Li Na on Saturday evening.
”She has been in the finals of Grand Slams many times,” Cibulkova said.
“She already won a Grand Slam, so she knows how it is. I’m playing in the finals, so that’s something beautiful. It’s like a dream. So I will just go out there and play my best.”
Alana Mitchelson is a Melbourne-based freelance journalist covering the Australian Open for Tennis Panorama News. Follow her tournament updates on Twitter @TennisNewsTPN and read her personal website.