China’s Zheng Draws on Li Na Advice to Make Australian Open Last Eight

China’s Zheng Draws on Li Na Advice to Make Australian Open Last Eight

Melbourne (AFP) – Zheng Qinwen, known as “Queen Wen” to her fans, drew inspiration from Chinese tennis legend Li Na to reach the quarter-finals of the Australian Open for the first time. The 12th seed, just 21 years old, showcased her dominance by defeating unseeded Oceane Dodin 6-0, 6-3 in under an hour at Rod Laver Arena on Monday.

Zheng’s victory sets up an intriguing clash against another unseeded player, Russia’s Anna Kalinskaya, ensuring a fresh face in the Melbourne Park semi-finals. The match received prime-time coverage in China, adding to the pressure on Zheng. However, she revealed that she was trying to stay focused and not allow the pressure to affect her performance.

Initially feeling the weight of responsibility, Zheng has learned to concentrate on her own game, taking things one day at a time. She expressed her gratitude for the immense support she receives, both at the tournament and through fans watching in China and around the world.

Considered China’s brightest young tennis star, Zheng has made remarkable progress in the rankings, currently sitting at number 15 in the world. She aims to build on her breakthrough 2023 season, which included winning her first WTA title in Palermo and securing a second title in Zhengzhou. Additionally, she reached the quarter-finals at the US Open and won a gold medal at the Asian Games.

Zheng finds inspiration in Li Na’s triumph in the 2014 Australian Open final. Li, who is present in Melbourne this week, met with Zheng after her third-round match, providing valuable advice and encouragement. This was the first time the two Chinese tennis stars had an in-person conversation.

With this being her second time reaching the quarter-finals of a Grand Slam, Zheng feels more confident and experienced. She recalls Li Na’s advice to “just play, don’t think too much” and aims to embody that mindset as she progresses further in the tournament.

As Zheng Qinwen continues to make waves in the tennis world, she stands as an emerging Chinese talent, drawing inspiration from the achievements and guidance of her idol Li Na. With each match, Zheng’s determination and skill shine through, leaving fans eagerly anticipating her future successes on the court.