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Tennis: Doubles Champion Gets the Message Home
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A simple text message confirmed to Zheng Jie's mother that her daughter had won her second grand slam title of the year, and a first for China at the Wimbledon championships.

"Ha ha, champions again," read the SMS message Zheng sent after she and compatriot Yan Zi had beaten Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 to win the women's doubles final in the early hours of Monday morning local time.

Zheng and Yan, who both come from Chengdu in Sichuan Province, paired up to win China's first grand slam title at the Australian Open in January.

Yan's family stayed up into the early hours to watch the final and her father - a football World Cup fan like hundreds of millions of Chinese - missed Italy's victory in Germany to support his daughter.

"When we saw they didn't win until the seventh match point," Yan's mother told the Chengdu Economic Daily, "my heart was in my mouth."

The pair's victory in the final match of the fortnight on Centre Court capped China's best ever Wimbledon, with Li Na's singles seeding and run to the quarter-finals both also firsts for the country.

Li was beaten in the last eight by Kim Clijsters but still rose from 30th to a Chinese record 22nd in the world rankings on Monday, a spot above five-times grand slam winner Venus Williams.

Belgian Clijsters also ended Zheng's singles campaign in the third round at Wimbledon but the 23-year-old Chinese still moved up to a career-high 34th in the rankings.

Zheng and Yan were also rewarded with their best doubles ranking of third and fourth in the world.

According to the method of calculation used by some Chinese, a child is one year old at birth. Zheng's family therefore celebrated her July 5 birthday as her 24th, a special anniversary in China.

"I'll prepare her some birthday presents for luck, hoping she and Yan Zi continue doing well in the grand slams, especially to win the upcoming US Open," her mother said.

The US Open starts August 28.

(China Daily July 11, 2006)

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