Li Na Becomes First Asian Woman in a Major Tennis Final

The history books were rewritten last night in a tense, nail-biter of a tennis match that left me elated and cheering out loud. Li Na, 28, of China, currently ranked number 11 in the world, defeated world number one Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinals of the Australian Open to become the very first Chinese player—and in fact, the very first Asian woman—to make it to the finals of a Grand Slam event. Coming from a set and match point down, Li dug deep and rallied to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3. Li's milestone victory will undoubtedly raise the popularity of the sport in her home country, in addition to winning her legions of new fans around the world. Li, who is considered more of a veteran on the women’s tour, quit professional tennis earlier in her career to attend college, but missed playing the sport so much that she eventually returned.

Tune in for the women’s singles final (check the updated schedule on Friday night to see what time it will air) on Saturday, January 29 to watch Li battle it out against Kim Clijsters, a former world number one player who already holds three grand slam titles. Though Clijsters is the favorite to win the match, I wouldn’t count out Li—she’s a true fighter, and having come this far, she has nothing to lose.

Photo source: AustralianOpen.com