The field has been narrowed down to the final two, and Abelson Info are back to discuss who will prevail in Saturday's showdown...
'Li has been knocking on the door for a couple of years now, and it is worth backing her to finally end her wait for an Australian Open title with a hard-fought win over Cibulkova.'
World number four Na Li undoubtedly loves playing in Melbourne, as she now looks forward to her third Australian Open final in the last four years. The Chinese star lost out to Kim Clijsters in 2011, before losing to Victoria Azarenka last year, and so she will be hoping that it's third time lucky as she prepares to face surprise opponent Dominika Cibulkova.
After saving a match point against Safarova in the third round, Li hasn't looked back since as she secured a straight sets win over Canadian starlet Eugenie Bouchard last time out. It promised to be a close encounter given the teenager's form through the tournament, but Li's experience and ability allowed her to out-slug her rival and secure her place in the final.
The fourth seed was our pre-tournament tip behind Azarenka, and she looks on course to deliver as she hopes to end the wait for her second Grand Slam title after her success in Paris back in 2011.
However, standing in her way will be Cibulkova, who has had quite the fortnight herself as she continues to upset the odds and send the top seeds packing. Navarro, Halep, Sharapova and Radwanska have all been victims of the Slovakian this year, and while she may be a huge underdog heading into this encounter, it would be dangerous to dismiss her threat completely.
The 20th seed completely overpowered Radwanska in the last round, despite the Polish star coming into the clash having defeated defending champion Azarenka. While she would have been confident of backing that performance up with another solid effort to reach the final, Cibulkova had other ideas as she stormed through the match unleashing 21 winners.
Not only will she now play in her first Grand Slam final, but she will also become the first female Slovakian to do so, and with the hopes of a nation on her shoulders, she will provide a tough test for her rival.
Considering the number of shocks in Melbourne this year, it is possible that we could see yet another upset to end the women's tournament.
However, it is difficult to see anything but Li triumphing in this one, as she has both the power and on-court intelligence to out-wit her opponent who lacks the experience of such a big-match atmosphere.
Li has won all four of their previous meetings, the most recent of which was in Toronto last year. Cibulkova proved difficult to break down with a couple of tie-breakers, and given her current form the trend is perhaps set to continue.
Li has been knocking on the door for a couple of years now, and it is worth backing her to finally end her wait for an Australian Open title with a hard-fought win over Cibulkova.
Back Li to beat Cibulokova 2-0 @ 2.0811/10
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