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China's teenager Zheng dominates local favorite to reach last 16 at French Open

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-05-29 07:20
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China's Zheng Qinwen celebrates after winning her third round match after France's Alize Cornet retired from the match, May 28, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

PARIS - It was another breakthrough day for Chinese teenager Zheng Qinwen as the 19-year-old dominated her third-round match against French veteran Alize Cornet to reach the last 16 of the women's singles at the French Open here on Saturday.

Zheng was never really tested en route to the victory as the local star retired while trailing 6-0, 3-0.

"I started quite well in this match. Also, I'm really glad about my performance today. I did everything that I have to do. That was nice," said Zheng.

"To be in Grand Slam is one of my childhood dreams, so I really want to play in a big stadium in front of everybody. I only want to give my best when I play in the big stadium, and I feel just I have to always give my best on the court. Yeah, I only feel excited to play in the big stadium. I'm happy for that," she added.

Next for Zheng is Polish world No.1 Iga Swiatek, who saw off Danka Kovinic of Montenegro 6-3, 7-5 in an early match on the court Philippe-Chatrier. The 74th-ranked Zheng will look to snap the 2020 French Open champion's 31-match winning streak to secure a place in the quarterfinals.

"I think I didn't watch a lot how she plays, but I know that she's a great clay court player and she has a nice game to play on clay. That will be a tough match, for sure. I will give everything I have for the next match," said Zheng when asked about Swiatek.

Playing in the biggest arena at Roland Garros for the first time, Zheng went into the match quickly, winning the first set without dropping a game. Although the local supporters were trying to cheer Cornet up by applauding and chanting, the Chinese teenager showed calmness and broke twice in her opponent's first two serves in the second set before the 2022 Australian Open quarterfinalist retired.

"My expectation in French Open is just to go match by match and to give everything I have on the court. I always know that I have the level to do something. And let's see what's gonna happen here," she said.

Zheng, making her debut at the clay major, overcame two-time Grand Slam winner Simona Halep of Romania 2-6, 6-2, 6-1 in the previous round, which was her career-first win over a top-20 player.

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