21 Jan 1989
Zhang, born in Tianjin, started playing tennis at the age of six, when her parents took her to a local tennis club. Winner of 20 singles titles and nine doubles titles on ITF Circuit, Zhang made her WTA qualifying debut at 2006 Beijing and her made main draw debut the same year in Guangzhou. In 2009 in Beijing she beat Safina and became as the world No.226 the lowest‐ranked player to defeat a reigning world No.1.
She made the Top 100 debut on August 9, 2010, her first top 100 season, when she reached the semifinals in Guangzhou. That remained her best result in a WTA tournament until 2013 when, in the same city, Zhang won her first WTA title beating King in the final becoming the fifth Chinese to win a WTA title after Li Na, Zheng Jie, Yan Zi and Sun Tiantian. She finished the season ranked No.51 after winning a WTA 125K Series event in Nanjing (d. Morita in F). In 2014 she reached three singles semifinals and made her Top 50 debut on February 3. In 2015 she moved past the first round at tour‐level on only four occasions: Pattaya City, Charleston, Prague and Nürnberg. Consequently, the Chinese contemplated retirement after ending 2015 ranked No.186, her lowest year‐end finish since 2008 (No.212).
Zhang enjoyed her Grand Slam breakthrough at 2016 Australian Open, where she advanced to QF – first time she had progressed beyond the first round at a major in her 15th main draw appearance. As a qualifier, defeated No.2 Halep and No.17 Keys en route (l. Konta). Ranked No.133, became lowest‐ranked player to advance to last eight in Melbourne since unranked Henin reached final in 2010, and first qualifier to do so since Gavaldon in 1990. Other season highlights in 2016 included reaching 3r at US Open (best result at tournament), where she claimed back‐to‐back match wins at tour level for first time since 3r effort at Indian Wells in March, a run spanning 10 tournaments. She went 21-6 post Us Open, reaching back‐to‐back semifinals in Tokyo [Japan Open] and Seoul, winning her win 19th ITF Circuit singles title of career at $100k ITF/Tokyo 2‐JPN and reaching the final at WTA 125K Series event in Honolulu (l. Bellis in F). In 2016 she posted her fourth Top 100 season in 2016, at career‐best finish of No.24, finishing as China’s top‐ranked woman, of four in Top 100. In 2013, she moved to the third round at Roland Garros and Us Open defended her title at the ITF/Tokyo 2 and won a second back to back title in Honolulu.
ARTICLE ABOUT ZHANG SHUAI