Melbourne: Dominika Cibulkova became the first Slovakian to make a Grand Slam singles final yesterday after stunning fifth seed Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open, a feat she called “beautiful”.
Dominika Cibulkova celebrates after beating Agnieszka Radwanska. Pic/Getty Images
The 20th seed was in inspired form to rip the Pole to shreds 6-1, 6-2 and make her first Grand Slam final in 26 attempts. “I’m playing the final, so that’s something beautiful. It’s like a dream. So I will go just out there and play my best, try to do my best,” she said of facing Chinese fourth seed Li Na in tomorrow’s final.
“Today I was doing everything right,” she added. “I was going for my shots. I was just doing everything perfect. Aga (Radwanska) is an unbelievable player and I expected a tough match. I just knew I had to go for my shots.”
The 24-year-old, who has won three career singles titles, including at Stanford last year where she beat Radwanska in the final, accounted for Maria Sharapova in Round 4 and she was too good for Radwanska yesterday.
On paper, 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 into 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.
“I felt like in slow motion today,” she said. “I had a couple of tough matches, especially yesterday (against Azarenka). I think I was not fresh enough.”