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Zheng continues inexorable rise

By SUN XIAOCHEN | China Daily | Updated: 2022-09-27 09:16
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Zheng Qinwen poses with her runner-up trophy at the Pan Pacific Open on Sunday. The 19-year-old's excellent form this year has seen her rise to 28th in the world rankings. [Photo/Agencies]

Chinese teenager enjoys yet another breakthrough with historic Tokyo run

Not quite the perfect ending she'd hoped for, but Zheng Qinwen still had every reason to be buoyed by her history-making run in Tokyo last week.

Building on her rapid ascent up the rankings this year, Zheng became the first Chinese teenager to appear in a WTA singles final at the Pan Pacific Open, where she eventually lost to Liudmila Samsonova 7-5,7-5.

Despite the narrow defeat at the hands of the in-form Russian, Zheng deserves credit for a standout campaign in Tokyo, where she stunned top seed Paula Badosa in the second round to secure her first career win against a top-10 opponent.

Zheng also joined this year's French Open runner-up Coco Gauff of the United States in becoming the second teenager to reach the final of a WTA 500 or higher-level tourney this season.

"It's been a quite positive week for me even though the final result was disappointing," said Zheng, who became the first Chinese teenager to crack the world's top 30 on Monday at a career-high ranking of No 28.

"It's been a whole new experience for me to play my first final at a WTA 500 tournament. Obviously I have a lot to learn and improve on, especially in the handling of key points at clutch moments in important matches like a final," she added.

"I believe a loss on the big stage like this, as well as many of my other matches this season, will ultimately turn out to be valuable lessons for me," said the 19-year-old, a native of Hubei province.

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