Historic Result for China at the Australian Open - UBITENNIS
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Historic Result for China at the Australian Open

Led by Shuai Zhang, who beat Simona Halep, the Chinese players at the Australian Open have reached a historical feat, with four players in the second round.

Ivan Pasquariello

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It could have been the last big tournament Shuai Zhang was going to play in her tennis career. The Chinese had asked her parents to join her in Melbourne for the Australian Open, possibly the last major she was ever going to participate in, after falling in the first round of Slam tournaments 14 times. With a place in the ranking which was getting further away from the top 100 and dark perspectives for the near future, Shuai Zhang thought facing Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open was going to lead yet to another first round defeat. It didn’t happen and the story didn’t repeat. Beating the second seed in the first round, the Chinese 26-year-old shocked first of all herself. She is now in the second round, with a check for more than 50.000$, which means having the funds to keep being a tennis player a little longer than expected.

 

Following Zhang in the second round were 3 other Chinese players, making it a historical poker of Chinese contestants to make it to the last 64. First to reach the feat was another qualifier Wang Qiang, who just like Zhang took out a seeded player, ousting Sloane Stephens in the first round. The day had then finished with Wild Card winner Xin-Yun Han over injured Duque Marino. Finally, the poker was completed by Saisai Zheng, the only one automatically admitted to the main draw, who dominated in straight sets German Witthoft.

It seems there is still hope for Chinese tennis, even after Li Na’s retirement.

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Kaia Kanepi upsets Angelique Kerber to reach the second round at the Australian Open

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Former world number 15 Kaia Kanepi came back from one break down in the second set to beat 2016 champion Angelique Kerber 6-4 6-3 in 1 hour and 20 minutes at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Kanepi leads to 3-2 in her five head-to-head matches against Kerber after beating her German rival in Sydney in 2009 and Wimbledon in 2011. 

 

The Estonian player has beaten a seed in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament for the ninth time in her career. 

Kanepi, who dropped out of the top 100 to world number 115, hit 31 winners to 21 unforced errors. Kerber made 19 unforced errors to 18 winners. 

Kanepi earned a break in the fourth game of the opening set to take a 4-1 lead. Kerber broke back in the seventh game for 3-4, but Kanepi closed out the first set 6-4 with a break in the 10th game. 

Both players traded breaks in the fifth and sixth games to draw level to 3-3. Kanepi won the final three games including a break in the eighth game to take a 6-3 lead.

Roland Garros semifinalist Tamara Zidansek came back from one set down to beat Aranxta Rus 3-6 6-4 7-6 (10-8) in the super tie-break in 2 hours and 26 minutes. Zidansek missed three match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set. Zidansek raced out to a 5-0 lead in the super tie-break, but she dropped seven of the next eight points to trail 6-7. Zidansek converted her fourth match point to close out the super tie-break 10-8. Zidansek will face British player Heather Watson. The Slovakian player beat her British opponent 2-6 6-2 7-6 (7-4) in Adelaide first round last week. 

Ana Konjuh rallied from losing the first set to beat Shelby Rogers 4-6 6-3 7-5. Konjuh was not able to convert four match points as she was serving at 5-4 in the third set, but she won the final eight points to claim her first Grand Slam main draw win since Wimbledon 2017. 

Konjuh set up a second round match against 2019 Australian Open semifinalist Danielle Collins, who cruised past qualifier Caroline Dolehide 6-1 6-3 after 66 minutes. Danish teenager Clara Tauson beat Australian player Astra Sharma 6-3 6-4 in 1 hour and 20 minutes setting up a second round match against Anett Kontaveit. 

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Emma Raducanu beats Sloane Stephens to book her berth in the Australian Open second round

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British teenage star Emma Raducanu beat Sloane Stephens 6-0 2-6 6-1 in a battle between US Open champions after 1 hour and 45 minutes to reach the second round at the Australian Open in Melbourne. 

 

Raducanu, who became the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title at the US Open last year, played her first match against Stephens, who claimed the US Open trophy in 2017. 

Raducanu has extended her Grand Slam main draw record to 11-1. Stephens, who married Jozy Altidore on New Year’s Eve, was playing her first match in 2022. The US player reached the Australian Open semifinal in 2013. 

Raducanu broke three times and dropped only four points to win a one-sided first set in just 17 minutes. The young Brit hit seven winners and committed two unforced errors to Stephens’ eight.

Stephens bounced back by breaking serve on her fifth opportunity after consecutive double faults from Raducanu in a 12-minute first game of the second set to take a 2-0 lead. Stephens broke twice in the fifth and seventh games and drew unforced errors from Raducanu to seal the second set 6-2. 

Raducanu earned a double break with two backhand returns to race out to a 4-0 lead. The teenager ended a 17-shot rally with a crosscourt dropshot on her third match point. 

“Both me and Sloane put everything out there and it was a very good match. We had some good rallies and I am happy to come through against such  a great champion. I went out there and I played a great first set. I executed my game plan pretty well and was making very little unforced errors, but of course because Sloane she was fighting back in the second set. Her defensive skills were pretty inspiring for me to ty and replicate myself later on. So we got into some good rallies. She turned it around. Then in the third set I am just glad I could regroup and make less errors again and play some good tennis”, said Raducanu.  

Raducanu will take on last year’s Charleston WTA 500 finalist Danka Kovinic, who beat Jan Su Jeong 6-3 2-6 6-4 in 3 hours and 9 minutes. 

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Alex De Minaur recovers from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti at the Australian Open

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Alex De Minaur rallied from one set down to beat Lorenzo Musetti 3-6 6-3 6-0 6-3 in 2 hours and 32 minutes on Kia Arena in Melbourne reaching the second round at the Australian Open. 

 

De Minaur earned an early break in the third game to take a 2-1 lead. Musetti won five consecutive games from 1-3 to seal the opening set 6-3 with two breaks in the sixth and eighth games. 

De Minaur went up an early break in the fourth game at love. Musetti saved three break points at love to hold serve in the sixth game before breaking back in the seventh game. De Minaur got for the second time in the eighth game to seal the second set 6-3. 

The Australian player won a one-sided third set by taking a bagel with three breaks in 21 minutes. Museetti won just five points in the third set. 

Musetti saved two break points in the fourth game. De Minaur converted his second break point in the ninth game to close out the fourth set 6-3.  The Aussie won 28 out of 40 points at the net and hit 21 winners. 

De Minaur set up a second round match against Poland’s Kamil Majchrzak, who beat Andreas Seppi 6-1 6-1 7-5. Majchrrzak won all three singles matches he played for Poland at the ATP Cup. 

“It doesn’t get much better than this. I have some great memories on this court, playing in front of my home fans. There is no place I would rather be, that’s for sure. The most important thing is I stayed positive throughout the whole match. I am not allowed to get negative on court, make sure to tell me off”, said Alex De Minaur. 

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