China’s Shuai Zhang and Qinwen Zheng have a chance to face each other in the final of the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Earlier, both Zhang and Zheng won their respective quarter-final matches to take their places in the semi-finals on Friday.
Zhang defeated Petra Martic 7-5, 6-2 in an hour and 22 minutes in their last-eight clash. She won 79% of her first-serve points to the Croatian’s 61% and converted five of the six break points she had on the latter’s serve.
In comparison, she saved four of the six break points she faced. After the win, Zhang talked about some of the difficulties she’d faced in 2021. “Last year, tough half year. I had an injury because in 2020 I [went] back to China [twice], long quarantine after.
When I started to play, I felt shoulder pain, arm pain, everywhere. So last year, the first half of the year I didn't win any matches. I didn't play well. I took a lot of rest and treatment,” she shared. In the semi-finals, Zhang will play Liudmila Samsonova.
Samsonova ousted the third-seeded Garbine Muguruza, 6-4, 6-2 in an hour and 22 minutes in their quarter-final match. Samsonova converted five of the seven break points she had on the Spaniard’s serve while conceding her serve twice.
She won 72% of her first-serve points and 59% of her second-serve points. Muguruza won 52% of her first-serve points and only 35% of her second-serve points.
Toray Pan Pacific Open: Shuai Zhang and Qinwen Zheng script QF's notes
Meanwhile, Zheng got past Claire Liu of the United States, 6-4, 7-5 in two hours and three minutes in their quarter-final meeting.
This is the first time the teenager’s made it this far in a WTA 500 tournament. Her next opponent will be Veronika Kudermetova. The fourth-seeded Kudermetova took down the fifth-seeded Beatriz Haddad Maia 6-7(4), 7-6(6), 6-1 in three hours and 14 minutes.
Both Shuai Zhang and Qinwen Zheng achieved a major milestone for their country by making it to the second-to-last round in the Toray Pan Pacific Open. Previously, Li Na had been the last player from China to reach the semi-finals in the Japanese capital nearly 13 years ago, in 2009. Zhang and Zheng’s wins brought an end to this drought.