September 19, 2014 / 3:47 AM / 5 years ago

FACTBOX-Tennis-The rise of China's women

Sept 19 (Reuters) - Milestones in the progress of Chinese women’s tennis after Li Na, the first Asian to win grand slam singles titles, announced her retirement from the sport on Friday.

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2004

August - Sun Tiantian and Li Ting win China’s first Olympic gold medal in the sport in the women’s doubles at the Athens Games.

October - Li Na is the first Chinese to win a WTA Tour singles title, in Guangzhou.

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2005

January - Zheng Jie wins her first WTA Tour title at Hobart.

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2006

January - Zheng Jie and Yan Zi win China’s first grand slam title in the women’s doubles at the Australian Open.

May - Zheng wins the first all-Chinese final at a WTA event when Li Na withdraws injured from the Estoril final.

June - Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to reach the quarter-finals of grand slam at Wimbledon. Zheng and Yan win a second grand slam doubles title.

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2008

June - Zheng, a 133rd-ranked wildcard, beats top seed Ana Ivanovic on her way to the semi-finals at Wimbledon, the first Chinese to reach the last four at a grand slam.

August - Zheng and Yan win bronze in women’s doubles at the Beijing Olympics, while Li Na misses out on a medal after defeat to Vera Zvonareva in the bronze medal match.

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2010

January - Zheng and Li Na reach the last four at the Australian Open, the first time China has had two players in the last four at a grand slam. They lose to Justine Henin and eventual champion Serena Williams respectively.

Li Na becomes the first Chinese player to reach the women’s top 10 in the world rankings.

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2011

January - Li Na comes back from 5-0 down in the first set to beat Kim Clijsters in the final and win the Sydney International, her first “premier” level WTA title.

- Peng Shuai beats seventh seed Jelena Jankovic on her way to her first grand slam fourth round appearance at Melbourne Park.

- Li Na beats world number one and top seed Caroline Wozniacki in the semi-finals of the Australian Open to become the first Chinese to reach a grand slam singles final, losing to Clijsters.

June - Li reaches a second consecutive grand slam final at the French Open and beats holder Francesca Schiavone 6-4 7-6 to become the first player from an Asian nation to win a grand slam singles title.

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2013

January - Li Na reaches the Australian Open final for second time in three years only to be beaten again, this time by Victoria Azarenka.

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2014

January - Li Na wins her second grand slam title by beating Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova in the Australian Open final.

Editing by Pritha Sarkar and Greg Stutchbury

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