China’s Li Na Wins French Open Women’s Singles

China’s Li Na defeated defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the women’s singles final at the 2011 French Open on Saturday to become the first person from her country to win a Grand Slam title.

The match was even after the first four games, but the 29-year-old Li broke Schiavone’s serve in the next game then held ground the rest of the way to take the first set, 6-4. Li, a runner-up at the Australian Open in January, won four of the first six games of the second set, but Schiavone battled back to force a tie-break. However, the 30-year-old Italian ran out of steam in the tie-break to surrender the set, match, and her title, 7-6 (7-0).

“I was 4-2 up and she tried to come back, but I just had to stand up again and I made it. I think everyone in China will be so excited,” said Li, whose exploits on the Philippe Chatrier center court was broadcast live in her native China.

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