China's women on song at Australian Open

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, January 21, 2020
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Zheng Saisai of China hits a return during the women's singles first round match against Anna Kalinskaya of Russia at the Australian Open tennis championship in Melbourne, Australia on Jan. 20, 2020. (Xinhua/Bai Xue)

China's female players made their intentions clear on day one of the Australian Open, showing they have what it takes to go all the way, despite rain forcing the cancelation of several matches.

Chinese players Zhu Lin, Zhang Shuai and Zheng Saisai all moved through to the second round after the first day of play, with Zhang staging an unlikely deja vu win over Sloane Stephens, 2-6, 7-5, 6-2.

Early in the match, Stephens looked primed to progress comfortably, but Zhang had other plans, remaining poised to force a tiebreak in the second set and dominate a decisive third.

The scoreline was eerily similar to the pair's match in the first round of the 2018 Australian Open, on the same court, with Zhang also triumphing after dropping the first set, 2-6, 7-6, 6-2.

In another three-set thriller, Zhu beat Viktorija Golubic from Switzerland 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (10-5), showing her ability to turn the tide of a match and stay cool under pressure.

Having lost the first set, Zhu fought back hard, dominating the second and appearing to have established an unassailable lead over her opponent.

However, Golubic would not be easily beaten, forcing a third set tiebreak and requiring Zhu to muster an impressive level of composure to clinch the decider.

Also moving through for China in less dramatic fashion was Zheng, who claimed her match against Russia's Anna Kalinskaya 6-3, 6-2.

Zheng will face defending Australian Open champion Naomi Osaka in round two on Wednesday.

Earlier, rain interrupted an exciting match-up between China's Yafan Wang and the United States' Alison Riske, with the American barely claiming a first set tiebreaker 7-6 (5), before the match was called off.

Meanwhile, Wang Qiang's match against France's Pauline Parmentier was canceled before it began due to wet weather.

Wang had a stellar year in 2019, reaching the quarter finals of the U.S. Open after beating current women's world number one Ashleigh Barty.

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