French Open 2011 Women's Final: Previewing Francesca Schiavone vs. Li Na
With two exciting women in the final and with two different types of games, this year's French Open championship match promises to be an exciting one.
Let's take a look at the key points that may decide the match on Saturday.
Who will have the greater experience to draw from?
Both players have been to a Grand Slam final before. However, Schiavone won her only previous final, while Li Na lost. Furthermore the Italians sole major was at Roland Garros.
Overall both should fare well with the pressure, but Schiavone will have the slight advantage of knowing how to win here at the French Open.
Which player has the better game to win?
Schiavone has plenty of variety, but do not be fooled by Li Na. The Chinese can also mix it up by taking pace off her shots, changing direction of the ball and sometimes applying a drop shot.
In general, Li Na likes hitting the ball hard, and if she keeps aiming at Schiavone's backhand, it is the Italian's shot that is likely to break first.
Although Li Na's shots can be powerful, Schiavone will not be worried since she can take that power and send it back with lots of topspin, however that is mostly on her forehand side.
To add to this, the Italian can use her slice to keep the ball low and draw errors out of her opponent, knowing that Li Na will probably try to attack.
If Na keeps her unforced errors low, she will have a better chance to win. The new, faster balls have helped her dictate the points in her matches, which will help her greatly if the two players get forced into rallies.
Who has the greatest advantage overall?
Last year, Schiavone's triumph was a shock to many. This year, however, she has shown that it was not a fluke. The Italian is really enjoying her time at Roland Garros and overall she is very happy to be in the final again.
The French crowd will also be on the Italian's side, not only because she is a past champion, but because of her more aesthetic, unpredictable game.
We will never know for sure if Li Na feels the full pressure of a nation behind her, but there will be times that her nervousness to win her first Grand Slam will lead her to some mental lapses; lapses that may end up costing her the match.
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