The Norman Transcript

National Sports

January 26, 2014

China’s Li Na wins Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia — Seven months after giving retirement serious thought, Li Na made it third time lucky in an Australian Open final with a 7-6 (3), 6-0 win over Dominika Cibulkova to become the oldest women’s champion here in the Open era.

Li, who turns 32 next month, lost finals to Kim Clijsters in 2011 and to Victoria Azarenka last year. In between, she won the 2011 French Open in one of the many firsts she’s established for Chinese tennis.

Widely popular at Melbourne Park for her funny post-match interviews and wise cracks about her husband and his snoring, Li didn’t disappoint the Rod Laver Crowd in her first victory speech.

She first thanked her agent, Max, “for making me rich,” her coach Carlos Rodriguez and then her husband, former coach and constant traveling companion, Shan Jiang.

She told him he was “even famous in China.”

“So thanks for him give up everything just traveling with me to be my hitting partner, fix the drinks, fix the racket. So thanks a lot, you are a nice guy,” she said, pausing for the laughter. “Also you are so lucky, find me.”

In both her previous finals at Melbourne Park, Li won the first set but went down in three. Against Azarenka last year, she stumbled and twisted her ankle, and needed a medical timeout in the third set after hitting her head on the court.

She had no such trouble against No. 20-seeded Cibulkova on Saturday night, racing through the second set in 27 minutes after taking the first in a tiebreaker.

Li’s supporters were everywhere in the crowd, some with Chinese flags painted on their faces, others holding Chinese flags or giant signs painted with Chinese characters.

Her fans got her through the nervous first set, chanting, “Li Na, Let’s Go,” in Mandarin during every changeover.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
National Sports
  • Hamlin crew chief out 6 races

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR suspended Denny Hamlin’s crew chief and car chief on Tuesday for six races because the Joe Gibbs Racing entry failed inspection following his third-place finish at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Darian Grubb and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Bell focuses on every facet of his game

    LATROBE, Pa. — Le’Veon Bell kept watching the tape over and over, equal parts pleased and puzzled by what he saw....

    July 30, 2014

  • Sam factor may ready Rams for sensitivity class

    ST. LOUIS — To guard against another bullying scandal, NFL teams are holding sensitivity sessions during training camp....

    July 30, 2014

  • Romo skips full-pad session for the first time at camp

    OXNARD, Calif. — The Dallas Cowboys are taking it easy with Tony Romo’s back....

    July 30, 2014

  • Vikings hire help for Kluwe talks

    MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings have hired the attorney who investigated the Miami Dolphins bullying scandal and another who played a prominent role in the fight for marriage equality to help in settlement talks with former punter ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Cards’ Abraham charged with DUI

    ATLANTA — Authorities say Arizona Cardinals linebacker John Abraham was arrested on a drunken driving charge a month ago in the Atlanta area. Abraham has been absent from the team’s training camp since Friday....

    July 30, 2014

  • Players elect new executive director

    Michele Roberts has watched basketball for as long as she can remember. It was an easy choice growing up in a home with one TV and two older brothers....

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA settles head-injury suit

    CHICAGO — The NCAA agreed on Tuesday to help athletes with head injuries in a proposed settlement of a class-action lawsuit that college sports’ governing body touted as a major step forward but that critics say doesn’t go nearly far ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Yanks hold off Rangers

    ARLINGTON, Texas — Brett Gardner had four hits to go with a tremendous sliding catch and the New York Yankees held on for a 12-11 victory at Texas on Tuesday night in spite of J.P. Arencibia’s seven RBIs. Gardner had a leadoff homer and ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Twins pick up undrafted arm ‘out of nowhere’

    SAN FRANCISCO — In one of their craziest scouting experiences, the Minnesota Twins have reached a deal with a 24-year-old pitching prospect who has thrown 100 mile per hour fastballs but has never been drafted....

    July 30, 2014