Chinese players hail Li’s victory as breakthrough



BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Li Na’s Chinese colleagues on the WTA tour say her French Open title will bring an influx of new players from the Asian country and could have a major impact on the sport.

Former Wimbledon semifinalist Zheng Jie and Peng Shuai are the only other Chinese players to have been ranked in the women’s top 20. They were full of praise for Li at this week’s Aegon Classic grass-court tournament in Birmingham, England.

Zheng said “Li Na’s win is huge, it will bring a big change.”

Peng added that “I think tennis in China now will get more and more popular.”

Li beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final to become the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam singles title.