By Paul Osborne

Li Na secured her first Australian Open title with victory over Dominika Cibulkova ©Getty ImagesJanuary 25 - It was third time lucky for China's Li Na as she finally got her hands on the Australian Open title with victory over Slovakian Dominika Cibulkova.

The two-time finalist recovered from an edgy first set to completely dominate the second and secure a 7-6, 6-0 victory.

The win marks the second Grand Slam title for the 31-year-old following victory at the French Open in 2011.

Already a popular figure in Melbourne following her previous appearances at the Open, Li enjoyed great support in the final, and truly brought the house down with her acceptance speak.

"Finally I got her," she said.

"The last two finals were very close.

"Now I have to thank my team.

"Thanks to my agent for making me rich, thanks a lot.

"Thanks to my husband, now so famous in China.

"He's my hitting partner, fixes the drinks, fixes the rackets.

"You do a lot of jobs.

"Thanks a lot, you are a nice guy.

"You were lucky to find me."

The victory was Li Na's first at the Australian Open and second Grand Slam title of her career ©Getty ImagesThe victory was Li Na's first at the Australian Open and second Grand Slam title of her career ©Getty Images

This final was a very different encounter for Li compared to previous years with the fourth-seed coming into the encounter as the clear favourite.

Whilst she was an underdog in her final defeat to Victoria Azarenka in 2013, the challenge was very different yesterday as she found herself facing one of the most unlikely of finalist the Australian has ever seen.

For Cibulkova came into the final ranked number 24 in the world with a Grand Slam semi-final one of her few notable career highlights.

The tiny Slovakian, who stands at just 5ft 3in, packs a punch however, with her aggressive, energetic play style getting the better of both third-seed Maria Sharapova in the fourth round, and fifth-seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis.

The opening set would have been one to forget for both competitors with errors aplenty leaving the encounter see-sawing from one player to the next.

Four breaks of serve between the two left a tie-breaker to settle the set with Li's big-stage experience proving enough to take a 1-0 lead after almost an hour and a half on court.

The second set, by comparison, was all Li.

Cibulkova kept up the fight but Li had stepped up her game.

Her forehand, the crux of so many problems in the first set, was now firing on all cylinders as Li powered to her first Australian Open title.

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
January 2014: Nadal through to Australian Open final after beating Federer in straight sets
January 2014: Wawrinka through to first Grand Slam final where Federer or Nadal await
January 2014: Federer rolls back the years against Murray to reach Australian Open semi-finals
January 2014: Defending champion Djokovic knocked out of Australian Open by Wawrinka
January 2014: Vintage Federer sets up quarter-final tie with Murray at Australian Open