Li Na cruised through to the third round of the Australian Open on Wednesday with a 6-0, 7-6 win over Swiss teenager Belinda Bencic, while Zheng Jie had a tougher battle, eventually downing American Madison Keys 7-6,1-6, 7-5. But for all the talk about China’s new generation of tennis players (here and elsewhere), Li and Zheng were the only two to make it out of the first round – from the eight who made the main draw.
China had a record eight players in the singles draw for the Australian Open. Of the five who played on Day 1, there were wins for Li Na (vs 16-year-old Croatian Ana Konjuh) and Zheng Jie (vs 12th seed Roberta Vinci), while wildcard playoff winners Wu Di and Tang Haochen both lost, as did Zhang Shuai, who had ended 2013 so well.
Apologies for the infrequent posts over the last month. I visited a total of seven countries in August, and I’m also in the process of moving server and relaunching the site.
Li Na marches on at the US Open with a 6-3, 6-0 win over 9th seed Jelena Jankovic to reach the quarter-finals and match her best ever performance at Flushing Meadows. Too bad the conversation has focused on everything other than the tennis in recent days. But as every tabloid journalist knows, never let the truth get in the way of a good story. Here is today’s Sports Talk column:
If Li Na’s French Open win was the earthquake, then here comes the tsunami.
I’ve written before about the crop of Chinese youngsters poised to make a breakthrough in the women’s game, and it looks like it might be happening.
Yesterday at the Malaysian Open, 21-year-old Wang Qiang beat former world number 1 and the tournament’s top seed, Caroline Wozniacki 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 for the biggest win of her career.