BBC Sport tennis


Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 12:33 GMT, Saturday, 4 June 2011 13:33 UK

French Open women's final as it happened


To get involved use Twitter (via hashtag #BBCTennis ) or text us on 81111 (UK) with TENNIS before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages charged at your standard operator rate.)

By David Ornstein

1635: There's still one day of the French Open remaining and what a day it promises to be. Scintillating Sunday, men's final, RAFAEL NADAL v ROGER FEDERER, one man bidding for a record-equalling sixth French Open crown, the other the hunt for a 17th Grand Slam title. Live text on the BBC website from 1300, live pictures on BBC Two and online from 1400 and full match commentary on BBC Radio 5 live. This is one you most certainly don't want to miss.

1630: And that, my friends, is the end of the women's clay-court season. It's time to bin the orange-stained socks, whack out the crisp whites and head to Edgbaston or Birmingham this coming week, Eastbourne the one after and then Wimbledon from 20 June. But we're not done with the red stuff just. Oh no...

jack_lee86 on Twitter: "That overrule by the umpire at 6-6 40-40 swung the momentum back in Li Na's favour. It looked out to me. Gutted for Francesca. #BBCTennis"

British number one Elena Baltacha on Twitter: "Big congrats to #NaLi. She & Francesca both incredible players but so pleased for Li. One to watch @Wimbledon!x"

Britain's Anne Keothavong on BBC Two: "It was a great tie-break by Li Na and credit to her - she's a great champion, a great player and deserves this. She got tight and nervous and we saw her vent her frustrations but she kept it together at the end. Schiavone is a warrior and Li Na still had to close it out, she did a great job."

1620: Not a classic but a truly historic moment all the same. Li Na becomes the first player from Asia to win a Grand Slam singles. Sue Barker on BBC Two predicts Asia will become the new hotbed tennis talent, producing male and female Grand Slam champions aplenty. Exciting times. Schiavone misses out on the chance to become only the sixth woman in the Open era to lift back-to-back French Open titles, but she was gracious in defeat.

Champion Li Na: "I'd like to thank Schiavone for a great two weeks."

Runner-up Francesca Schiavone: "Today was really tough. I have to say congratulations to Li Na - this year she has grown up so much. To kiss the clay every day is something from my heart and I will always remember this."

Leading tennis coach Roger Rasheed on Twitter: "Great Performance from Li Na, how many young Chinese girls just decided to take up tennis, watch out tennis world, a beast was just born."

1608: Schiavone comes forward to collect her runners-up prize from Evonne Goolagong Cawley before the 14-time Grand Slam champion presents Li Na with the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen. Emotional scenes among her support team in the stands but the 29-year-old herself looks pretty calm. Here comes the Chinese national anthem - played at the end of a Grand Slam singles final for the first time. Nice touch. Now for the speeches...

Champion Li Na: "I was up 4-2 and she came back and I needed to stand up again and finally I made it. I was nervous but I didn't want to show my opponent."

Runner-up Francesca Schiavone: "She played really well - I couldn't push her forward - we were close but she deserved to win today. I'm happy to be here and fight in my life."

The match is over

Schiavone 4-6 6-7 (0-7) Li
Li Na regains could not have picked a better time to regain her mojo. The sixth seed from China puts her fifth seeded Italian opponent under huge pressure from the outset and Schiavone misses a successive groundstrokes to fall 3-0 behind. Li then comes up with an outrageous twisting backhand smash for 4-0 and it's not long before she's at 6-0, which means SIX MATCH POINTS. The 29-year-old tosses the ball up and someone shouts out from the stands. Li's not happy. Take two. She tosses the ball up, lands the first serve, a rally ensues and Schiavone fires long for her 24th unforced error of the day. GAME, SET, MATCH AND CHAMPIONSHIP... LI NA.
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 4-6 6-6 Li
After Schiavone slices her way to the first point of game 12, Li responds with a couple of delightful forehand put-aways. Big moment at deuce when Li groundstroke is called out by our umpires runs down from her chair to have a look. She calls it... IN! Schiavone isn't happy and protests vehemently. Her fans stop chanting their celebratory tune - Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes - and instead start booing. But the call stands and Schiavone then finds the net to take up to a tie-break. A decisive moment?
* Denotes next server

Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "We are beginning to see the full range of Schiavone now. Li needs to steady the ship because it's listing."

Schiavone 4-6 6-5 Li*
Two rollicking backhand drop volleys help Schiavone to a love hold. "Li Na's got some problems to sort out here," says Sam Smith on BBC Two. "If you're going to pass Schiavone, don't try doing it her to the backhand volley." Clouds beginning to gather around Court Philippe Chatrier - and things are starting to look at touch gloomy for Li Na too. She'll now serve to stay in the set.
* Denotes next server

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros: "Li's forehand shot of the match for 75mins but let her down the last 15. Good battle of decibels between FS & LN fans. Fran-ces-ca winning."

*Schiavone 4-6 5-5 Li
More trouble on the cards for Li as she slips to 15-30. But if there's one thing she's done well all day it's back up her serves with a booming second ball. A couple of big deliveries keep her first-serve percentage above 70% and they're followed with big forehands. She scrambles over the line and as andrew Castle on BBC Two points out, "that's a really strong response - her game was falling apart, she was under huge pressure, but she came through brilliantly."
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 4-6 5-4 Li*
Schiavone confirms the break with a thunderous, passion-filled service hold. She leaps back to her chair and the noise is deafening. She's showing the spirit of a true champion and suddenly it's Li who appears to be on the ropes.
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 4-6 4-4 Li
We said she's still in this and how! With her title on the line, Schiavone digs deeper than at any other point today - racing to 0-30 and then 30-40 and a break-back point. Can she? Will she? Her fans are willing her on, clapping, chanting, waving their arms all over the shop - what an atmosphere. Li serves.... the rally ensues... Li looks nervous... Schiavone hitting is cleaner than ever... big crosscourt forehand... Li fires wide... well wide. There's the break. GAME ON!
* Denotes next server

Text in your views on 81111
drmax101 via text on 81111: "The way Li Na plays her shots and moves around court reminds me of the days of Chris Evert."
...who, I've just spotted, is sat in the stands. Looking very well.

Schiavone 4-6 3-4 Li*
It's one barrage after the next from Li and that's why she's on course for an historic triumph today. Another unreturnable forehand brings up break point and this could bash the final nail into Schiavone's coffin... but she goes long and then nets. Rush of blood to the head? Will that come back to haunt her? Time will tell. Schiavone closes the game with a drive volley winner that brings much of the crowd to its feet. Roars of delight. Her chances are slim, but she's still in this.
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 4-6 2-4 Li
Flashes of brilliance from Schiavone - one backhand winner that passes Li at the net is particularly eye-catching - but it's not enough. Li turns to the one-two-PUNCH on game point and it works a treat... the defending champion flashes at clean air... another critical hold from the Chinese sixth seed.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 4-6 2-3 Li*
Ominous signs for Schiavone as Li belts her way to break point. "A 4-1 lead now and it's going to be extremely difficult for Schiavone to retain her title," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. Fortunately for the Italian, Li comes up with a wayward forehand. Sighs of relief all round Chatrier. Schiavone scrapes through and bounces back to her chair with a giant pump of that right fist, but she needs to break back soon, otherwise her dreams of back-to-back French Open crowns will be well and truly over.
* Denotes next server

Times tennis correspondent Neil Harman on Twitter: "For the most part in this final, Li has played the shots she wants to play, when she wants to play them #unrushed."

*Schiavone 4-6 1-3 Li
Another superb hold from Li as Schiavone once again struggles to make any significant inroads on her opponent's delivery. The Italian has won only 10 of 39 receiving points compared to 16 of 42 for Li, with just five winners all day compared to 22 for the Chinese player. Li has registered more unforced errors but she's taking more risks and, on the whole, they're paying off.
* Denotes next server

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: "Schiavone's drop volley was special, Li ace on break point equally so. Chinese journos next to me giggled. Might try that next Murray match."

Schiavone 4-6 1-2 Li*
Schiavone bites back with a hold to 15. Too much guile and variety for Li on this occasion. Bit of an error in my scoring in the previous game - manually refresh your page and we're good as gold.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 4-6 0-2 Li
Judging by the noise inside Chatrier after Schiavone produces breathtaking forehand winner and then the cutest of cute drop volleys to bring up a break point, there's no doubt who the majority of this crowd wish to see emerge victorious. But Li comes up with a few more bullet forehands to avert the danger and hold. Her camp look quickly confident, it must be said.
* Denotes next server

New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey on Twitter: "Li up a set and a break: handling pressure and Schiavone's unusual game with aplomb (for now)."

Schiavone 4-6 0-1 Li*
"What I like about Li Na today is that when she misses, she's not missing by much," says Sam Smith on BBC Two. In fact, she barely misses at all en route to 0-40 and three break points. Schiavone saves the first two but can't handle her opponent's power on the third, being pinned back by a flurry of devastating groundstrokes before netting a forehand. There's the break and this looks like being Li Na's day. Long way to go yet, mind.
* Denotes next server

Britain's Anne Keothavong on BBC Two: "The balls are different and more lively. That is suiting Li Na more. It's faster and will suit someone who hits the ball flatter - she's dominated and she's really going for it. She hits the ball so sweetly and is moving around well. Schiavone does look a little tense out there so she doesn't look as though she has settled yet."

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery on Twitter: "Allez Na Li!" has a nice ring to it, plenty of it ringing around Chatrier at the moment too. She's playing well, serving brilliantly."


*Schiavone 4-6 Li
Li receives an absolutely gift from Schiavone to get us going, the Italian lashing a routine service return wide after taking an unnecessarily huge backswing. That sets the tempo of the game and before we know it, Li has a couple of set points. Schiavone does everything she can to stay alive but it's delaying the inevitable... the Italian nets and Li takes the opening set.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 4-5 Li*
Italy's first and only Grand Slam singles champion to date races to 40-0 and, despite Li rallying in point four to get her name on the board, she gets over the line when the sixth seed flings a groundstroke wide. "The next game will be very interesting," predicts Andrew Castle on BBC Two. "It's all well and good getting yourself into this position, now you've got to see it out."
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 3-5 Li
Schiavone's making plenty of noise but negligible impact on the Li serve. Another comfortable hold for the Chinese player means her opponent, the defending champion lest we forget, will now serve to stay in the opening set.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 3-4 Li*
Perfect response from Schiavone. A hold to love and big cheers from the crowd. "Forza Francesca [clap clap clap clap clap], Forza Francesca." Something I should've mentioned earlier... in 30-year-old Schiavone and 29-year-old Li, we're seeing the biggest combined age for a Grand Slam final since Jana Novotna played Nathalie Tauziat at Wimbledon in 1998. "The years can help a lot," said Schiavone. "Maybe it's changing a bit because some years ago the champions were always young players: Martina Hingis, the Williamses. Now that's changing. "It's like wine: if it stays in the bottle more it's much, much better."
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 2-4 Li
Well, well, well. Li outhits her opponent once more to some breathing space with a hold to love. "If she keeps hitting through her opponent, she wins," says Andrew Castle on BBC Two. Co-commentator Sam Smith thinks it will be interesting to see how Li copes if and when Schiavone launches a revival, suggesting the 29-year-old's emotions have been known to get the better of her. Anyway, so far so good as far as Li's concerned.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 2-3 Li*
Lots of smiling, cheering and flag-waving from Li's fans in the stands as their girl dispatches a backhand at the net for 15-40 and two break points. Schiavone digs in to save the first, but on the second she can't control a groundstroke. Li breaks.
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 2-2 Li
The wonder from Wuhan reels off another forehand winner to level us up. "Li wants a hard-court match out here today and Schiavone wants an old-fashioned clay-court encounter." Li has never won a title on the red dirt. Or any other coloured clay, for that matter.
* Denotes next server

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros: "It's a muggy one on Chatrier but still bright thankfully. Already a good battle between Li's flat hitting and Schiavone's kick serve/topspin"

Former British number one Andrew Castle on BBC Two: "The crowd like Schiavone. She's animated, full of heart, she kissed the clay of Roland Garros when she last won year and she did the same at this year's semi-final. They know less about Li Na."

Schiavone 2-1 Li*
These two have met four times previously with two wins apiece - and there's precious little to choose between them the early stages today. Li's taking some big risks out there with mixed results. A booming forehand winner takes her to 30-30 and Sam Smith on BBC Two says: "If she can keep that up, she'll win this match." Sam, by the way, has pick the Chinese star to edge it. Schiavone, meanwhile, gets to game point and this time a Li forehand sails long.
* Denotes next server

*Schiavone 1-1 Li
Lots of pre-match talk about Schiavone's top spin and slices versus Li's flat, power shots. Well, so far we've seen a bit of everything from both ladies. Li crafts her way to 40-0 before Schiavone scampers all over the place to fight her way back with a hard-earned couple of points. Li comes through for a solid hold, strong starts all round.
* Denotes next server

Schiavone 1-0 Li*
And the first game of the 2011 French Open women's final goes with serve. Although not without a scare. A couple of brilliantly controlled winners hand Li a break point at 30-40, but Schiavone ups the intensity, gets that ball spinning viciously and holds her nerve - and with it the game. "FRAN-CES-CA, FRAN-CES-CA!" chant a pocket on fans in the crowd.
* Denotes next server

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros: "It might have been a bit overshadowed by the men but there's a great atmosphere on Chatrier as Li & Schiavone walk on court. Thumping music like at the O2 in November. Opinion is divided as to how this one will go, although not among the Schiavone fans who are decked out in black and pink today, and already making noise. A few Chinese flags around and lots of reporters."

1412: Can Schiavone produce a repeat of her 2010 triumph over Sam Stosur? Or will Li become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title? We're about to find out. Schiavone to get us under way...

1410: A quick word from today's underdog Li Na. "I never feel the pressure. If someone can stay behind you, push you a lot, it's good," says the little right-hander, who lost January's Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters. "I like that."

BBC Sport's Piers Newbery at Roland Garros: "It's a bright, warm, muggy day in Paris and my decision to wear jeans for the first time this week has proved foolish. Let's hope Li Na & Francesca Schiavone haven't made a similar mistake. The verdict from an Italian journalist in the men's room - "Last year Schiavone was not favourite, she won. This year she is favourite, so...." More men's room updates to follow."

1405: Plenty of support for both players on Court Philippe Chatrier. Just spotted a member of Li's backroom team having his photo taken with the trophy at the front of the president's box. Li enters to a huge ovation - but it's trumped by the welcome Schiavone receives. She loves it here. They love her here. Warm-ups well under way.

shortshakes on Twitter at Roland Garros: "Dream final for me. 2 players who wake up thinking 'How can I win?' not 'What shall I wear?'. So good for the game."

1355: Schiavone may have much of Italy (60.6m) and Europe (population 731m) on her side but Li will benefit from the backing of China (1.3bn) and Asia (3.9bn). WOW. The 29-year-old is bidding to become the first Asian to win a Grand Slam title, although Michael Chang - the American son of Chinese-born parents - did triumph at Roland Garros in 1989.

1350: There's plenty at stake for ladies today. Defending champion Schiavone is bidding to become only the sixth woman to retain the French Open title since tennis turned professional in 1968. Margaret Smith Court, Chris Evert, Steffi Graf, Monica Seles and Justine Henin are the others. "(When I was young) I played first round, second round and then I lost in the quarter-finals in the girls' tournament," Schiavone recalled. "During that week there was a big match, Graf, Steffi Graf, against Monica Seles. I remember that I went there with the camera to take a picture. Every year before I come here, I look at that picture; this one picture."

1345: As Annie K points out, Schiavone v Li will be live from BBC Two at 1400 BST. How does she know? Well, she'll be on the sofa alongside our Sue to bring you some mighty fine expert analysis. You can also watch proceedings on the Red Button and the video console at the top of this page. Audio updates on BBC Radio 5 live.

Britain's Anne Keothavong on Twitter at Roland Garros: "Tune in to the French Open women's final on BBC2 at 2pm today. Who do you think will take the title home? I originally predicted Sharapova and Djokovic to win in Paris but have be proven wrong. Na Li to win? I'll probably be wrong again."

1335: Welcome, one and all, to our live and uninterrupted coverage of the last match of the women's clay-court season. It'll take some effort to live up to the drama of Fabulous Friday but you never know. I'm very excited. You? Here's to Sensational Saturday.

1330: In the blue corner, aged 30 and seeded fifth, standing at 5ft 5ins and weighing 141lbs, with four WTA titles including one Grand Slam and career prize money of $7.5m - from Milan, Italy.... FRANCESCA SCHIAVONE. In the red corner, aged 29 and seeded seventh, standing at 5ft 7ins and weighing 143lbs, with four WTA titles and career prize money on $4.8m - from Wuhan, China... LI NA. This of a best-of-three set contest for the Coupe Suzanne Lenglen and a place in history. Ladies and gentlemen, it's with great pleasure that I give you... the 2011 French Open women's final.

Print Sponsor

see also
Li hails 'dream' French Open win
05 Jun 11 |  Tennis
China's Li wins French Open title
04 Jun 11 |  Tennis
French Open women's final
04 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Schiavone and Li set for battle
03 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Winning run had to end - Djokovic
04 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Majestic Nadal holds off Murray
10 Jun 11 |  Tennis
Order of play
23 May 09 |  Tennis
Women's singles latest
21 May 10 |  Live scores
Women's singles results
22 May 11 |  Tennis
Women's singles draw
28 Jan 10 |  Tennis
Men's singles draw
26 Aug 11 |  Tennis
Tennis on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Tennis

related bbc links:

related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


Sign in

BBC navigation

Copyright © 2020 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.