Li is bidding to become the first Asian to win a grand slam singles title and thoroughly deserved to beat the Russian 6-4 7-5 after dealing better with gusty conditions on Court Philippe Chatrier and sticking to her game plan.
The Russian had just one ploy, but hitting the ball as hard as she could each point made no difference whatsoever against the dogged sixth seed, who has shown time and again over the past two weeks that she does not let go.
"She had a huge big serve so I thought please double fault so I can win the match," Li, 29 and one of China's biggest sports names, said courtside after her wish came true.
"I never believed myself that I could be in the French Open final, I wish I can do even better in Saturday's final."
Image: Li Na of China celebrates defeating Maria Sharapova of Russia in the semi final match of the French Open tennis tournament in Roland Garros stadium in Paris, Thursday June 2, 2011. Li Na won the match in two sets 6-4, 7-5
French Open 2011