London, 9 June 2011 | AP

The WTA says Li Na was watched by 116 million TV viewers in China when she won the country’s first Grand Slam singles title at the French Open.

The 29-year-old Li beat defending champion Francesca Schiavone 6-4 7-6(0) in Paris on Saturday.

WTA chairman Stacey Allaster said the 116 million-audience was the highest for a tennis match in China and a “fantastic sign for the continued growth potential of women’s tennis in China”.

Citing figures from state broadcaster CCTV, the WTA said the previous highest Chinese TV audience for a sporting event this year was when 60 million viewers saw Li lose to Belgium’s Kim Clijsters in the Australian Open final in January.