2011 French Open: Li Stops Sharapova, Faces Schiavone in Final

China’s Li Na proved that her first-ever Grand Slam final appearance at the Australian Open in January was no fluke, beating former world no.1 Maria Sharapova of Russia on Thursday, 6-4, 7-5, to reach the final of the 2011 French Open in Paris.

With the wind blowing strong at Roland Garros, Li took advantage of Sharapova’s 10 double faults and saved eight break points to deny the Russian a chance to complete a career Grand Slam. “She has a huge and big serve, so I was like, ‘Please, double-fault. That way I can win the match,” said Li, who will attempt to become the first from her country to win a Grand Slam title.

Standing in Li’s way is defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy. Schiavone, who became the first Italian woman to win a Grand Slam singles title when she won over Samantha Stosur in last year’s final, defeated Frenchwoman Marion Bartoli, 6-3, 6-3, in the other semifinal. The women’s final is scheduled on Saturday.