Li, seeded sixth in the clay court tournament, controlled the tiebreak late in the second set and went on to defeat fifth-seeded Schiavone 6-4, 7-6 (7-0).
Li is the first Chinese player to win a Grand Slam tournament. She lost in the Australian Open finals earlier this year.
Li overcame 24 unforced errors and prevailed in 1 hour, 48 minutes with the help of three aces.
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