Li Na wins French Open

Jun 5, 2011

Li Na became China’s first champion at a Grand Slam, after beating last year’s winner Francesca Schiavone for the French Open title. The combined age of the two finalists was the highest since 1998, and both were proud to show that their age was no obstacle to their achievements. In fact this has been shown more and more in the women’s game, especially since Kim Clijsters came back from retirement and having a child to win a grand slam.

Li Na’s performance was powerful from start to finish, but there were some wobbles in her game and Schiavone made her work hard for her points, particularly in the second set where it moved to a tie-break. Li was dominant in serve and although Schiavone’s powerful topspin and kick serve were meant to serve her well and make her the favourite on this surface, Li put up a strong resistance and found a rhythm with her own style. Li won the key break points at the key times, and soon the lead added to her confidence and more beautiful cross-court shots that left Schiavone skidding in the clay.

The rain which was predicted to come held off as well, which must have added to Li’s confidence as she won the first set and moved confidently into the second. But this was where the Italian started to impress, and she began to claw her way back up onto the score board. When the tie-break came, however, it was Li’s show. She took the points superbly, quickly, and with immense composure for a player who had lost last time she played in a Grand Slam final. When Schiavone sent one far over the baseline on championship point, Li Na became China’s first Grand Slam champion, and will now move to number four in the world for her efforts. The Chinese flag flew and the national anthem played at Roland Garros for the first time, and it was clearly a proud moment for Li, and deservedly so. She is now focused on Wimbledon, a surface she was always more comfortable on to begin with, so she could be on to even bigger and better things as the season moves onto grass.

-          SophieG

Written by: SophieG

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