Li triumph watched by 116 million in China

Updated: 2011-06-09 14:56


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 Li triumph watched by 116 million in China

Local tennis students hold posters featuring Chinese tennis player Li Na to show their support in her hometown of Wuhan, Hubei province, after the women's final at the French Open tennis tournament June 4, 2011. China's Li Na beat Italian fifth seed Francesca Schiavone 6-4 7-6 to win the French Open on Saturday and become the first player from an Asian nation to claim a grand slam singles title.[Photo/Agencies]

Li Na's victory in the French Open final last weekend, the first grand slam triumph for a Chinese and Asian player, attracted a domestic television audience of 116 million, the WTA has said.

China Central Television said the audience for Li's 6-4 7-6 win over Francesca Schiavone last Saturday was the most watched sporting event in China this year, beating the 60 million who watched Li's defeat in the Australian Open final in January.

"The viewership numbers for Li Na's historic Roland Garros win are a fantastic sign for the continued growth potential of women's tennis in China," WTA chief Stacey Allaster said in a news release.

The WTA have clearly identified China as a major part of their future strategy, awarding Beijing one of their four "Crown Jewel" tournaments and relocating their Asia-Pacific headquarters to the Chinese capital.


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