Li Na of China
Li Na of China reacts after defeating Victoria Azarenka of Belarus during their quarter-final match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 1, 2011. Reuters

Li Na of China became the first Chinese to make it into the semifinals of the French Open. With tactical play and tenacious drive, the sixth seeded Na beat fourth seed Victoria Azarenka 7-5 6-2.

Na will have the support of her home country of China, with its 1.3 billion people, and the support of Chinese around the world include many in the Bay Area.

Her opponent will be the unflappable Maria Sharapova, who has won the three other Grand Slams and will be hungry to get her first French Open title. Sharapova will be the heavy favorite going into the match, but that won't stop Na from contesting every point to beat the Russian, in trying to make the finals.

Earlier this year, Na became the first Chinese woman to make the finals of a Grand Slam singles at the Australian Open, before losing to Kim Clijsters. She beat overall number one Caroline Wozniacki to get there.

At the French Open, she has dropped two sets so far and has cruised through all her opponents with the exception of fourth round opponent Petra Kvitova. Na's tenacity allowed her to come back strong against Kvitova in the fourth round 2-6 6-1 6-3.

She will need that tenacity again against Sharapova. Na is in good form at the French Open and the billion Chinese supporters will be with her in her quest to win her first Grand Slam.