Back Na Li and Cibulkova to go the distance Down Under

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In a year when the Australian Open women’s singles has been serving up shocks left-right-and-centre, punters would certainly be forgiven for getting behind the underdog once more in the finale, as Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova faces the biggest match of her life against China’s Na Li.

After pulverising 5th-seed Agnieszka Radwanska in the semis 6-1, 6-2, Ladbrokes price 20th-seed Cibulkova as the 9/4 underdog, while Li is deemed the 4/11 favourite to lift her second career Grand Slam.

However, as mentioned above, predicting eventual winners in this year’s women’s tournament has proved trickier than balancing a three-seater sofa on the end of a teaspoon.

The head-to-head reads 4-0 in Li’s favour, so logically speaking the fourth seed should prevail, especially as she will be so desperate to avenge her two previous final defeats, both last year against Victoria Azarenka and in 2011, where she lost out to Belgian Kim Clijsters.

You are only ever as good as your last match though and judging from the way the Slovakian romped into the final, hitting Radwanska with a barrage of winners from both sides of the court, those previous meetings are rendered somewhat obsolete.

A safer trend to exploit therefore is backing these players to make it a fourth final in five years to go to the maximum three sets, which is available to back at 13/8.

Both previous Melbourne finals that Na Li lost were done so by surrendering a one-set lead to her opponents, and she’s priced up at 2/5 to claim the first set again here.

There was a clue in their last meeting on hard courts in Toronto last year that Cibulkova was able to push the Chinese number one too, as the first set was decided by virtue of a tie break.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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