Li Na of China wins the French Open

Li Na French OpenLi Na happily falls to the red clay at Roland Garros after being Asia’s first Grand Slam singles title champion.

Li Na attains a personal vision and changed Chinese sports record Saturday at the French Open.

Li won over defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, 6-4, 7-6 (0) to obtain the women’s title at Roland Garros, being the first Chinese player to succeed a Grand Slam singles cup.

She became the first Asian-born player in January to arrive at a main contest competition at the Australian Open, where she misplaced to Kim Clijsters of Belgium.

American-born Michael Chang, who succeeded the 1989 French Open men’s title at the age of 17, was the first player of Asian legacy to succeed a major.

Li, 29 years old said it’s a “dream come true.  Since I was a young player, I wanted to be the Grand Slam champion. Someone said I’m getting old, but the old woman likes it that the dream came true. It wasn’t easy.”

After playing badminton for two years, the sixth-seeded Li was launched to tennis by her parents at the age of 9 in Wuhan, China. Li and Zheng Jie were once believed a platform invention; placing the base for the next generation of Chinese champions to approach. However Li finished up becoming that winner herself.

Li said, “It was tough, I retired for two years, had injuries,” a laptop by her side on which she had only been writing a blog for 2 million followers who pursue her on the Chinese website Sina.com.

“After the Australian Open, they made Li a national hero.  I think now she will go to rock-star status.”

Development of Li has been keenly followed in China.  The Shanghai-based Oriental Daily said she was the “No. 1 Sister” of Chinese sports after she beat Maria Sharapova, former Wimbledon champion of Russia in the semifinals. Her semifinal win was observed by as much as 65 million viewers in China.

Li won the initial set by placing Schiavone in pressure with her forehand in the final.  She was ahead of 4-2 in the second prior to Schiavone struggled back to go in front 5-4.  By means of serving at 6-5 and 40-40, the referee overruled a call of out on a Li backhand over complaints of Schiavone.

The turnaround appeared to nonplus the Italian; Li won the game on the following point to oblige a tiebreaker; she won the entire seven points to detain the title.

photo credit: guardian.co.uk

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