China’s Li Na Takes French Open Tennis Title

Posted June 4th, 2011 at 4:20 pm (UTC-5)
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At the French Open tennis tournament in Paris on Saturday, Li Na became the first Chinese player — and the first player from any Asian country — to win a Grand Slam singles title.

Li defeated last year's women's French Open winner, Italy's Francesca Schiavone, 6-4, 7-6.

Both players are age 29, which is considered old in the world of tennis. When Schiavone took the 2010 title, she became the oldest first-time women's champion since professionals began competing in 1968. She also was the first Italian Grand Slam women's champion.

Li, who was seeded sixth in the French tournament, was defeated in the Australian Open final earlier this year. She is now expected to jump to number four in the international rankings. Her victory also could spark renewed interest in tennis in her Chinese homeland.

Both players won six games in the final set, leading to a tie-breaker that Li won 7-0. When Schiavone hit long on match point, Li celebrated her victory by falling on her back onto the clay Paris court. It was her first title on clay.

The men's final will be played Sunday between world number one Rafael Nadal of Spain, the five-time French Open champion, and Switzerland's Roger Federer, the former world number one who took his only French Open title in 2009.