Thursday, 2 June 2011

Trailblazer at Roland Garros

Li Na is going to the finals of the French Open
Li Na is on fire.

She is the first Chinese national to make it to the finals of the French Open after she defeated Maria Sharapova 6-4 7-5.

We all remember when one-hit wonder American Michael Chang won the grand slam title at the tender age of 17 and then couldn't keep the momentum going anymore.

However sixth seed Li is only getting better and better. She lost in the Australian Open in January and this is her second attempt at winning a grand slam.

Perhaps her turning point in this tournament was in the fourth round when Li was down 3-0 in the third set playing against Petra Kvitova of the Czech Republic.

Li's husband Jiang Shan who was also her former coach, left the stands at that moment, probably unable to bear watching his wife go down in what he may have thought was defeat.

However the 29-year-old battled back and managed to win at 2-6, 6-1, 6-3 to make the quarter finals.

"I don't know what happened. Maybe it's just my husband left and I was able to win six games in a row," joked Li after that epic match.

She has stepped up her game significantly after working with new coach Michael Mortensen in April.

Li know her homeland fans are watching her every move and hopes to inspire the next generation of players.

"[On] clay court for all Asia people [who are] not doing so well because you have to slide a lot," Li said. "But after this I think all Asia people have more confident play on clay courts."

She can now take a break and see who she will play in the final, either title holder Francesca Schiavone or Marion Bartoli.

Jia you! 加油! [literally "add oil" or keep going!]

Told you Li's on fire.

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