Li Na is the most popular person in China again thanks to her resurgence at the Australian Open.
According to CCTV-5 director Jiang Heping, Li's battle on Saturday for her second Grand Slam drew the channel's largest audience since the London Olympics.
Li's match with world No 1 Victoria Azarenka at the Australian Open final hit 1.52 on the TV viewing rate, while the rating share reached 7.57, with a total audience of 18 million.
The average rating share was 7.6 during the London Olympics.
Li drew a viewing rate record of 2.57, the channel's highest for a single event, for the 2011 French Open final, when she became the first Chinese to claim a Grand Slam. The match was also televised on CCTV's news channel and golf and tennis channel, with a total audience of 116 million.
Li lost her form after that win, leading to a slip in the public's attention and a reduction in TV audiences.
The Australian Open was just the boost her popularity needed, in part because there was an expanded potential audience.
CCTV had exclusive rights for the 2011 match. This time around, in addition to CCTV-5 and CCTV golf and tennis channel, six other local channels broadcast the match. The final was also streamed live on several websites.
The game was listed as the hottest topic on Sina Weibo while it was being played, with more than 16 million people participating at the peak of the online discussion.
Li wrote a message on her weibo account after the game, and the message had been forwarded more than 60,000 times within a day.
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