Li Na’s historic win at Roland Garros!

At the age of 29, it became a question of will Li Na win a Grand Slam title.

Having gone soo close a few months before in Melbourne before losing in three sets to Kim Clijsters it became a question of if and not when.

Having defeated Maria Sharapova in the semi-finals and before that Petra Kvitova and Victoria Azarenka to make her second consecutive Grand Slam final.

Standing in her way of a first major success was Italian Francesca Schiavone who won the title in 2010 and was defending her first title!

The final was simply fantastic. It’s a bit cliche to say that Li Na produced her best in the final but I’d go as far as saying it was her one of her best all time performances!

It was her first and only clay court title despite making finals in Portugal, Rome and Stuttgart this was the only one and what a one to pick up.

Roland Garros was the last Grand Slam where we made it to at least the quarter finals and went and won it, truly remarkable!

I thought Li settled quite well, there were some nerves  early on but she got to grips with the way Schiavone was playing and managed to get to the drop shots and control from.

You could sense the nerves with Li leading at 5-4 30-30 and time and time again in the match the forehand of Li was like a bullet through the court as she took the first set 6-4 after 39 minutes.

Schiavonne did a good job of moving the ball around the court but it was Li Na who had the final say breaking very early on in the second set for a 3-1 lead.

Francesca wasn’t going to go away and continued to prolong the rallies as she broke back in the eigth game to level the set at 4-4 and suddenly the Italian had the advantage of serving first. 

We had some drama at 5-6 40-40 as the Italian was sure a backhand was out from Li following an out call but the umpire overruled! The Italian argued her case with the umpire but no luck!

The Chinese number one got an immediate mini-break in the tie-break following an excellent exchange between the two showing off Li’s perfect defensive game and transition to attack taking a 4-0 lead!

Despite great effort from Francesca trying to find joy from the one handed backhand down the line Li Na continued to get everything back and make her play one more point and suddenly led 6-0 in the tie-break!

A backhand long from Schiavonne sealed it as Li Na became the first Chinese woman to win a Grand Slam title!

It was of my favourite moments from Roland Garros and in tennis. It was a deserved win and one of those moments in tennis that you will never forget, she never gave up.

Also I would like to end on a note for Francesca Schiavone who became the first Italian to win a major and won many battles on the court and also in 2020 recovered from cancer! 

Screenshot 2020-04-25 at 11.34.30

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