Li Beats Schiavone, 1st Asian Slam Winner
by Staff | June 4th, 2011, 9:42 pm
  • 13 Comments

The (Chinese) revolution has come, and it was televised.


China’s 29-year-old Li Na, who says she is not a claycourt player, became the first Asian player (man or woman) to win a Slam title on Saturday when she defeated defending champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4, 7-6(0) in the 2011 French Open final.

Li can perhaps send a thank-you note to Babolat, the first-time ball supplier at the French Open. Rafael Nadal was is among players complaining that the Babolat ball is heavier and faster than the previous manufacturer’s ball. The No. 6-seeded Li beat the No. 5-seeded Schiavone after losing to the Italian in straight sets at Roland Garros last year.

Schiavone trailed almost the entire match, struggling to match Li’s power off the ground.

“Francesca is a claycourt player — she hits topspin and slice so well, so I just tried to play my tennis and keep her running,” Li said. “She’s a top player so you never know what will happen and when she will come back in the match, but when we went into the tiebreak I told myself it was my chance to do it. Before this tournament, people said I couldn’t do well on claycourts. Now I think they will change their minds.”

Li will rise to No. 4 on the WTA Rankings, equaling the highest-ranked Asian, Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm.

Schiavone was congratulatory of Li’s effort, adding that she will be back next year.

“Today was really tough but I have to say congratulations to Li Na,” Schiavone said. “She has grown so much this year and played so well today. I hope she enjoys this moment because it’s fantastic. I had my chances and was playing much better in the second set, but she really deserved to win today.”

 

 


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13 Comments for Li Beats Schiavone, 1st Asian Slam Winner

El Flaco Says:

Great win for Li Na. I thought she was going to choke after having game points to take a commanding lead in the 2nd. There was a huge line Na serving at 4-5, 30 all. Na hit an inside out backhand winner down the line that was called out. The ump checked the mark and called it good. Schiavone argued it. It would have been set point for Schiavone. Who knows how things might have turned out.


jane Says:

Ha! love, love that first line, Staff. “The Revolution will not be Televised” Gil Scot-Herron is EPIC.


jane Says:

RIP for GSH, :( and meant to say congrats to Na Li!


Anna Says:

Congratulations to Li Na for winning her first slam. I was rooting for her at AO but it wasn’t to be. After coming so close in January, this must be awfully sweet. Also, Rafa talked about the new balls, but their was no complaining.


steve-o Says:

Congratulations to Li Na!

This will surely open the floodgates for tennis in China and more broadly, Asia.


Robbie Says:

Awesome for Li Na, hope she makes No.1 and makes the WTA exciting again!


WTF Says:

Haha.. an entire Women’s final with a new first time champion crowned and you guys can only manage 6 comments?

The men’s blog posts generate 300+ comments with live commenting during matches.

Shows how little WTA product is worth today. Did you guys even watch the final?


Robbie Says:

WTF,

You may want to check the ratings. I can assure you that more people watched the women’s final than the men’s, and that Li Na’s win probably gave the sport of Tennis its best viewership in a long, long time. ;) Actually do some research and you’ll see how many people tuned in from China alone. Most ratings estimates are in already and reported.


Robbie Says:

Oh wait, here is a good one. Use google translator or just use google search for English news articles, but media outlets show more than 1 billion, yes, billion viewers. Think with your brains, not your fingers!

http://sports.sina.com.cn/t/2011-06-05/15545607628.shtml


contador Says:

i’m so happy for na li. : )

allez! congratulations!


WTF Says:

Yeah well that’s a market not represented on this blog site. Among the people here, it seems no one is interested.

Whenever you throw in China’s 1.2 billion population market it always skews things, especially when a chinese player is involved.

I’m guessing YOU didn’t watch the match Robbie?


KL Says:

Well done Li Na,

She was a whopping 33/1 odds just a week or so on the betting markets.
I wish I put some money on such a good price, as I did fancy her to do well especially given the player that she easily beat on her way to the final Azarenka was a very short 3/1 favourite.

Damn…..I doubt Li Na will ever be such generous odds ever again in finals!!

Just my luck!!


dean Says:

What an awful thing for such a player to win the fo…she is so limited a player and the heavy ball really fought against the skills of a true claycourter…li na is an interesting phenomenon…she quit the game for two years because she couldnt break into the top 100….maybe the powers of tennis wanted a chinese winner to open the market up? Either way she is even less talented than safina was…strewth! come back clisjsters and serena so we can watch girls who can really hit….worst moment in womens’ tennis in a long time…not a fan…she is utter mediocrity…29 winningt a slam>and nothing else hardly on wta?must be a record and an oddity.

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