China's Li Na will try to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam singles title when she takes on holder Francesca Schiavone in Saturday's French Open final.
Italian Schiavone, bidding to become the sixth player to successfully retain the Paris claycourt title since tennis went professional in 1968, will attempt to nullify Li's hard, flat strokes with her mix of top spin and slice. "This is important for Chinese tennis. They will be broadcasting the match live on television," said sixth seed Li.Li had the chance to make her Grand Slam breakthrough at the start of the year but she lost the Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters.
"I am more more confident," said the Chinese. "You have to believe you can do it. "I don't know how much I can do for Chinese tennis but I know that if someone makes it to the final the youngsters could say 'maybe I can do it myself'."
According to France's Marion Bartoli, Schiavone is the favourite. "Francesca is comfortable on this type of clay... Also, her win here might give her the advantage."