One of the world's top tennis players, she won 7 WTA and 19 ITF singles titles, and became the first Asian player to win a Grand Slam.
Turning profession in 1999, she managed to win three of every four singles tournament that she entered.
Known for her lightning-quick reflexes and a powerful, if sometimes inconsistent, forehand, she was often described as among the hard-hitting players on tour.
She married Jiang Shan in 2006. Her father Li Shengpeng was a professional badminton player.
In 2012, to help her better her game, she hired Justin Henin's former trainer, and the resulting all-around improvement was reflected in her strong finishes that year.