From New York Times

Li beats Schiavone: French Open Women’s Final


Li Na, a 29-year-old from Wuhan, China, became the first man or woman from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles title on Saturday, beating defending champion Francesca Schiavone from Italy, 6-4, 7-6(0). Li, cool and calm as she won point after point in the second-set tiebreaker, fell onto her back when Schiavone’s last shot landed long.

The crowd at Court Philippe Chatrier began the day decidely rooting for Schiavone but slowly turned its support to Li, who matched her well-known power with surprising speed and grace.

Li, whose ranking will rise to a career-high No. 4 on Monday, has made the finals of the past two Grand Slams. But winning at Roland Garros was a far bigger surprise, since clay is her least-favorite surface. But Li looked like a veteran on the slippery surface, chasing down Schiavone’s array of shots and firing precision two-handed backhands to the inside edges of all the lines.

The question now broadens to the after-effect for tennis. Tens of millions were expected to watch the match on television, and Li — already a household name and face — may have provided the impetus for a new revolution.

Check back for more coverage of the French Open, including Chris Clarey’s final roundup of the women’s final.


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