|Li Na of China reacts after defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia during their semi-final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 2, 2011. (REUTERS/Benoit Tessier)
TORONTO -- World No. 7 Li Na has enjoyed a pretty successful 2011 WTA season so far.
Thanks to a straight-set victory over Maria Sharapova in the French Open semifinals on Thursday, the 29-year-old finds herself in yet another Grand Slam final.
Being among the top two players competing for the biggest prizes thus far in the season is nothing to sneeze at and it speaks to a certain level of consistency that she's playing with. That steadiness has been her best trait so far this year and it's been a major contributing factor to all the success she's seen.
It's also something that most of the top women on tour seem to be missing.
Unlike on the men's side, there isn't any dominant player who you can point to and just expect to be in the final.
Normally in sports this would be something to admire, as parity is usually looked upon favorably. However, from a spectator's viewpoint, competitive equality where championships are concerned is something people want when it comes to team sports, but not individual ones.
In competitions, where it's just one person having only one or two players who are consistently the best, makes for far more intrigue because when any of these players lose, the classic -- and much beloved -- "David vs. Goliath" storyline can be reused.
Women's tennis used to have that when the Williams sisters were in their prime, but now there isn't anybody who has shown they can take on that role.
Thus, Li's accomplishment of making two consecutive Grand Slam finals is very significant because there will be a certain level of curiosity surrounding her since she fell just short at the last major.
Her opponent, fifth-ranked Francesca Schiavone, will also add to the anticipation leading up to the match as she is the defending French Open champion.
So even though the No. 1 and No. 2 players in the world won't be competing, the women's final at Roland Garros should still prove to be an interesting one. Li's late-career surge is turning her into a household name, and as long as she continues to get the kind of results that she's been getting this year, she could become a star.