With her win at Roland Garros for the women’s singles trophy over Francesca Schiavone at the 2011 French Open, sixth-seeded Li Na is coming into her own as a major player on the women’s circuit. And moving forward, there’s no reason to believe she can’t continue her steady success through the final two Grand Slam events of the year: Wimbledon and the U.S. Open.
Before this year, the Chinese star had only played in four French Open tournaments with a fourth round exit has her best finish. As recently as last year, she went out in the third round and stayed that way through much of 2010. For example, she lost in the first round of last year’s U.S. Open and the quarterfinals of Wimbledon. Then came 2011.
This year has been a career defining one for Li Na. She opened the year with the biggest singles win of her career at Australia’s Medibank Invitational, beating Kim Clijsters to claim her fourth overall title. She then finished as the runner-up at the Australian Open, losing a three set match to Clijsters. Now with her straight set victory over Schiavone, Na should move to No. 4 in the world rankings.
With this type of momentum, it’s unclear just how far the 29-year-old will go, but it’s clear that few can stop her at this point. Li Na has finally come into her own.