Wang energized by New York run

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Wang Qiang hits a return during the women's singles quarterfinal match between Wang Qiang of China and Serena Williams of the United States at the 2019 US Open in New York, the United States, Sept. 3, 2019. (Xinhua/Li Muzi)

Despite being overwhelmed by arguably the greatest female player in history, Chinese ace Wang Qiang grabbed the world's attention with her deep run at the US Open.

Outsized and overpowered, Wang lasted just 44 minutes in a 6-1, 6-0 loss to 23-time Grand Slam champion Serena Williams in their Wednesday (Beijing time) quarterfinal in New York.

The result wasn't unexpected, as the American legend's ferocious combination of strength and skill proved too much for the 27-year-old Tianjin native, who was making her debut in a major quarterfinal.

As Williams moves a step closer to her 24th major singles trophy, Wang, currently ranked No 18 in the world, has plenty to cheer about after earning 430 ranking points, $475,000 in prize money and, most importantly, the confidence to maintain her late-season surge in the tour's upcoming Asian Swing.

"I think I did a really good job in the two weeks ... the last match doesn't matter," Wang told a post-match media conference at 23,000-seat Arthur Ashe Stadium, the world's largest tennis venue.

"The takeaway from my two weeks here is very positive. I talked with my coach and we feel very positive about my future," she added.

Asked what surprised her most about being across the net from Williams for the first time, Wang instantly replied: "Power".

The way Williams hit ground-strokes from the baseline? Or the way she served?

"Everything," Wang said with a smile.

Williams, 37, grabbed the first five games in about 15 minutes. Then, after dropping one game, she collected the next 11 points to start a seven-game run en route to her 100th win at the US Open, dating to her debut as a teenager in 1998.

"It's the biggest court in the world and I felt a little bit tight throughout the match," said Wang, who now follows semifinalists Li Na (2013) and Peng Shuai (2014) as the third best performer from China at Flushing Meadows.

"Serena put a lot of pressure on me. She is really a great player with power that I cannot handle. I need to build my muscle and be more powerful, so I have to do more weight training."

Wang is expected to rise to a career-high No 12 in next week's rankings and hopes to carry her momentum from the Open into a series of tournaments in China over the next two months.

"A good performance during the Asian stretch of the season last year helped me grow more confident. Hopefully I can do the same this year," she said.

Wang's 21-6 record after last year's US Open included her second WTA title in Guangzhou, semifinal runs at premier events Wuhan and Beijing and a runner-up finish at the Zhuhai WTA Elite Trophy.

The streak helped her crack the world's top 20 by the end of the year after being No 91 in May, and the 71-place ascent saw her stun eight top-20 opponents along the way.

"I was always impressed with the work ethic she has, the discipline she has, the respect she gave to her (former) coach," Wang's new coach, Thomas Drouet of France, told the US Open website.

"When I stopped coaching my previous player, I put her first on the list. I just have this discipline and this work ethic every day, and I felt she has this naturally. When I started with her we connected really well. It was natural."

Drouet, known for guiding compatriot Marion Bartoli to the 2013 Wimbledon crown and Hungary's Timea Babos to the No 1 doubles ranking last year, began working with Wang after health issues forced her former coach Peter McNamara to quit in February.

McNamara, a former Australian Davis Cup star and Wimbledon doubles champion, died of prostate cancer at 64 in July, and a grieving Wang saw her performance slip midway through the season.

Having helped Wang overcome the emotional challenge to bounce back in New York, Drouet believes she has what it takes to make her name better known in the sport.

"I think she's the kind of player who has a capacity for analyzing. I think this is a big weapon," Drouet said.

"She can improve her power a bit, of course, but point by point, she makes her opponents tired. We have to add this in her game ... like Nadal is doing. He's not going to rush. He makes his opponents tired so he can finish them."

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