Great Wall of China stands between Schiavone, title
China's Li Na will take on defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the French Open final after both scored straight sets victories on Thursday.india Updated: Jun 03, 2011 01:31 IST
China's Li Na will take on defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy in the French Open final after both scored straight sets victories on Thursday.
Li, bidding to become the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles title at the age of 29, defeated double-fault prone Maria Sharapova 6-4, 7-5 in the first of the semi-finals.
The 30-year-old Schiavone then comfortably saw off French hope Marion Bartoli with a 6-3, 6-3 lesson in claycourt tennis.
The two have met four times previously with the series shared at 2-2. Schiavone though won their last encounter, in straight sets, in the third round at Roland Garros last year.Li's win made it back-to back Grand Slam finals for her and she gets another crack at becoming the first player from China to win a major title after losing to Kim Clijsters at the Australian Open at the start of the year.
For Sharapova it was a bitter pill to swallow as she had hoped to become just the 10th woman in the history of the sport to win all four Grand Slam titles, having won one apiece at Wimbledon and the Australian and US Opens.
But 10 double faults, five in each set, proved to be her undoing on a day when gusty winds sent the red dirt flying on the Philippe Chatrier centre court.
The 24-year-old looked briefly likely to take the tie into a deciding set as she went a break up in the second, but once again her serving proved unreliable and it was fitting that she double-faulted on match point.