Li Na is back in a Grand Slam final, reaching her second straight major championship match by beating Maria Sharapova 6-4, 7-5 Thursday in the French Open semifinals.
The Australian Open runner-up, who became the first Chinese player to reach a Grand Slam final this year in Melbourne, was able to chase down nearly everything Sharapova had to offer on Court Philippe Chatrier.
The wind was a factor yet again at Roland Garros, and Sharapova’s serve suffered because of it. The seventh-seeded Russian had 10 double-faults in the match, the last of which handed the Chinese the match.
“She has a huge and big serve, so I was like- ‘Please, double-fault. That way I can win the match,’” Li said. “I never believe myself I can be in final in French Open. I wish I can do even better on Saturday.”
Li finished with 24 winners, twice as many as Sharapova, and saved eight of 11 break points.
In the final, Li will face either defending champion Francesca Schiavone or No. 11 Marion Bartoli.