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China's Zhang, Zheng storm into semifinals at Pan Pacific Open

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-09-24 09:51
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China's Zhang Shuai reacts after winning a point against Croatia's Petra Martic in their quarter final match during the Pan Pacific Open at Ariake Coliseum, Tokyo, Japan, September 23, 2022. [Photo/Agencies]

TOKYO - Zhang Shuai became the first player from the Chinese mainland to reach the singles semifinals at the Toray Pan Pacific Open since Li Na in 2009 after beating Croatia's Petra Martic in straight sets on Friday.

The 33-year-old claimed her first victory 7-5, 6-2 against Martic, who had beaten her twice. After this win, Zhang's live ranking rose to world No. 25, just two places away from her career best.

Zhang was leveled by Martic when leading 5-3 but then took two games in a row to win the first set. In the second set, she took the upper hand and wrapped up the match within an hour and 22 minutes.

"All our previous meetings were won by Martic. For me, her playing style is very different from Garcia's," said Zhang, who eliminated second seed Caroline Garcia on Wednesday.

"I'm actually not very good at playing her type of player, but I'm happy to get the win and see my progress. I also saw a lot of room for improvement throughout the match and I will still continue to work hard and keep improving."

Zhang will next meet Russia's Liudmila Samsonova, who beat Garbine Muguruza of Spain 6-4, 6-2.

China's teenager Zheng Qinwen joined Zhang after knocking out American Claire Liu 6-4, 7-5 to reach the WTA tour semifinals for her second time.

"Today is a really tough match and was high quality. I had to give everything I had to win the match, and I am so happy that I'm able to finish the match in two sets," said the 19-year-old. "Anyway, I'm happy with my performance today."

Zheng will take on fourth seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia, who beat Brazilian Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7 (4), 7-6 (6), 6-1.

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