ZHANG SHUAI'S DREAM RUN CONTINUES

2016-1-26


MELBOURNE, Australia - Zhang Shuai battled past 2015 Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keysto become the fourth Chinese player ever to reach the quarterfinals of a Grand Slam tournament.
Zhang, who nearly went out in qualifying - her opponent in the last round of qualies, Virginie Razzano, served for the match in the third set - had taken out No.2 seed Simona Halep en route to her first second week at a major, and she continued that giant-killing form Monday night with a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over the No.15-seeded Keys, who looked increasingly hampered by injury during the match.
"It's so tough to play against someone injured," Zhang said. "Maybe two points you're feeling like you cannot play, and then the next three balls, pong, pong, pong, you make two aces, one winner. You don't know what's going to happen. And also last year this happened many times, and I'd almost win the match, but then I'd lose. But this time I really tried to concentrate, and I'm happy I won."
Coming in, Zhang was 0-14 in Grand Slams and had lost 20 straight sets at majors, too - she was considering retirement. She's not thinking of hanging her racquets up now, but she will need a break.

"Right now, after this tournament, I need a long break," the Tianjin native commented.
"I've already played seven matches. Before today I was thinking, 'Okay, today is the final.' When somebody wins six matches at a Grand Slam, it's already the final, right? And at night, it felt like it.
"But I'd already said this year I'll play less tournaments. I don't want to play too much. I want some more time for my life. I can have a holiday, rest, stay with my parents - and practice more too."
Zhang is the fourth Chinese player ever to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal, after Li Na, Zheng Jie andPeng Shuai - Li was the most successful of the group, picking up two career Grand Slam titles.
Zhang is also guaranteed of becoming the new Chinese No.1 after this tournament. The World No.133 is currently China's No.4 after No.83 Zheng Saisai, No.102 Wang Qiang and No.117 Duan Ying-Ying.
Next up for Zhang is Johanna Konta, who will also be playing her first Grand Slam quarterfinal.
Konta and Zhang are tied in their head-to-head, 1-1, though they haven't played since 2013.
BACK