They both were “ON” and played at a very high level for the majority of the match (…hitting jaw-dropping ground strokes, making unbelievable drop-shot saves, and demonstrating superb strategy and court coverage) in their finals showdown at the French Open 2011.
Yeah… it was a close one. But hey, it could have ended much differently…
In their post-match interviews, both players shed some interesting light on what they thought were the main reasons the match resulted the way it did, with Li Na making history with her 6-4, 7-6 (0) victory…
Check them out below…
3 Tennis Strategies Li Na Used To Snatch Up French Open 2011 Title
Francesca Schiavone (French Open 2011 Runner Up)
Li Na (French Open 2011 Winner)
1. Deep Balls And Penetration: The Italian winner of the 2010 French Open had trouble with the deep shots generated by Li Na. By not giving Schiavone many short balls, she pinned her back by the baseline and essentially put her opponent’s ability to get aggressive and come to the net on life support.
Note: Neither player charged the net much, but Na produced better results when she did get up there, converting 10-12 (…83%) opportunities compared to just 6-13 (46%) by her opponent.
2. First Serves Galore: In the French Open 2011 final, Li Na maintained an almost impeccable serving percentage from start to finish. *Note: Both Schiavone and Na served extremely well. Francesca got 63% of her first serves in (…a very solid stat). But Li edged her out by almost 10% – nailing a mind-blowing 77% of her first serves!
By not having to go with many “seconds,” Na’s service game was much harder to attack. This allowed her to dictate the tempo much easier and start off the majority of points on the offensive end (…in control), in the driver’s seat.
3. Ferocious Focus: The feisty Chinese champ kept her foot down, firmly on the competitive gas pedal. She stayed focused and remained locked in until they both shook hands. And that was crucial.
She never let up, not even for a second. The match was so tight, she knew that if she exhibited any form of premature celebration (…mentally or physically) before the umpire said “game, set, match,” that her opponent could possibly gain momentum and make her pay for it in the worst way.
That said, maybe she could teach Lebron James and the Miami Heat a thing or two about popping the champagne bottles before you’ve actually won… wink wink.
IMPORTANT: This is an important lesson guys. No matter how much you’re down by, or how far you’re in the lead, the match is *NEVER* over until both players put their rackets away and zip up their bags. There is *ALWAYS* a chance for the tides to turn and to make something happen. Just something to remember.
Again, what a great final. Congrats to both ladies… Now what? On to Wimbledon!