Melbourne: China's Li Na stormed to her second Grand Slam title Saturday, battling past brave underdog Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (7/3) 6-0 to become the oldest woman ever to win the Australian Open.
The 31-year-old fourth seed was crowned the Melbourne Park champion on her third attempt after losing in the 2011 and 2013 finals, adding to the French Open title she won three years ago.
In doing so, she became the oldest winner of the women's title, surpassing Margaret Court who was 30 when she became champion in 1973.
The Chinese star also joins an exclusive list of just seven other players to win a Grand Slam at 30-plus, with her name now in the history books alongside greats such as Martina Navratilova, Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Serena Williams.
The win pushes her one place higher in the world rankings to three, just 11 points adrift of Victoria Azarenka in second behind Serena Williams.
It was a gutsy effort by the Chinese star, who overcame the pressure of having lost twice before while bearing the weight of expectation from her homeland of 1.3 billion people.
While the diminutive Cibulkova, nicknamed the "pocket rocket" has been in the best form of her life, Li was the favourite and used her experience to take out the Slovak after a tight first set lasting 70 minutes.
Li got off to the best possible start, going 1-0 up on the Cibulkova serve when the Slovak gifted her the game with a double-fault on a second break point.
The Chinese star comfortably, with the 24-year-old Slovak struggling to produce any decisive returns as her shots repeatedly failed to find their mark.
But she crucially came through the third game, fighting off two break points, one with a lovely passing shot, to stay in touch at 1-2.