A hard, flat hitter who can be dangerous off both her serve and return, China's Na Li made history as the first Asian player, male or female, to capture a Grand Slam singles title when she dethroned defending champion Francesca Schiavone in the 2011 French Open final. It was Li's first career clay-court title and came less than six months after she squandered a one-set lead in losing the Australian Open final to Kim Clijsters. Following her French Open triumph, she reached a career-high rank of No. 4, tying Japan's Kimiko Date-Krumm for the highest ranking ever attained by an Asian player. In July, 2012, Li hired Carlos Rodriguez, who formerly coached world No. 1 Justine Henin, as her new coach. In August, 2012, Li beat Venus Williams and Angelique Kerber in succession to win Cincinnati, her first title since the French Open. She opened the 2013 season beating No. 2 Maria Sharapova to reach her third Grand Slam final at the Australian Open. Li injured her left ankle in a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 loss to defending champion and world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in the 2013 Melbourne final. Li successfully defended her Shenzhen title in January, 2014. The fourth-seeded Chinese defeated No. 13 seed Dominika Cibulkova, 7-6, 6-0, to capture her second career Grand Slam title at the 2014 Australian Open. Li joined Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati and Monica Seles as the fourth woman in the Open era to win the Melbourne title after saving a match point (in the third round against Lucie Safarova) and rose to No. 3 in the rankings. Born in Wuhan, China, Li played badminton as a child until a coach encouraged her to switch to tennis; her mother had never heard of the sport when she started playing. She has been a pioneer for Chinese tennis on and off the court. Known as a free spirit in her younger years, Li left tennis in late 2002 to study part-time at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. She earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from the University in 2009. Li left the state sport system in 2008 and was permitted to keep more of her prize money and choose her own coaching team. Li married Jiang Shan on January 27, 2006; her husband served as her on-again, off-again coach at times and sometimes bears the brunt of his wife's frustration from his court-side seat. Chinese custom states the family name (Li) is listed before the first name (Na) which is why her name often appears on scoreboards as "Li Na" while appearing as "Na Li" in some media outlets. Li has a tattoo of a rose on her chest.
Na Li Tournament History
2014: Shenzhen, Australian Open
2011: Sydney, Roland Garros
2008: Gold Coast