Zheng Qinwen met by anti-doping officials in hallway after Australian Open final



by DZEVAD MESIC

Zheng Qinwen met by anti-doping officials in hallway after Australian Open final
© Getty Images Sport - Julian Finney

Zheng Qinwen was reportedly taken for an anti-doping test shortly after losing the Australian Open. 

On Saturday, 21-year-old Zheng played in her first Grand Slam final at Melbourne Park. Unfortunately for Zheng, she didn't come anywhere near winning the Australian Open final after Aryna Sabalenka claimed a routine 6-3 6-2 win. 

Following the final, Zheng stayed on the court for the trophy ceremony. During the ceremony, Zheng addressed the crowd and also received her runner-up trophy. 

After exiting the court, Zheng was reportedly met by the anti-doping officials. Laura Robson, a former British tennis player who now works as an analyst for Eurosport, noticed the moment when Zheng was met by the anti-doping officials.

"Having just watched this clip of her walking out there, she’s off to do drug testing. So it’s not going to be an enjoyable next hour or so while she’s trying to pee into a cup. But rules are rules, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do," Robson said on Eurosport.

Zheng Qinwen
Zheng Qinwen© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer
 

Robson provides words of encouragement for Zheng

Zheng, who entered the Australian Open ranked at No. 15 in the world, was not really considered a top favorite for the title at Melbourne Park at the start of the tournament. But the draw opened for Zheng, who took the advantage and managed to put up a strong run and make her maiden Grand Slam final. 

In the Australian Open final, a very difficult task was awaiting Zheng as the Chinese had to play against Sabalenka, the defending champion and the second-seeded player. Also, the fact that Zheng was playing in her first Grand Slam final while Sabalenka was playing in her third, wasn't helping the 21-year-old Chinese either. 

Zheng maybe didn't stand much of a chance against Sabalenka but she will still be leaving Australia as a Grand Slam finalist. Also, Zheng is set to enter the top-10 for the first time in her career. On Monday, Zheng will find herself at a new career-high ranking of No. 7 in the world.

Zheng Qinwen
Zheng Qinwen© Getty Images Sport - Cameron Spencer
 

"And then once she gets over the disappointment of today she’ll realize she’s had an outstanding two weeks and really maybe didn’t think that she would be in the final here," Robson said of Zheng's Australian Open run.

"She took advantage of a wide-open top half of the draw and you just got to play who is in front of you. She didn’t play anyone in the top 50 to get to the final so I think that didn't help her tonight because it was a difference in class playing Sabalenka. But I feel like she’s got the game on the clay court to do very, very well."

Zheng vows to get better after losing to Sabalenka

Right from the start, Sabalenka started pressing Zheng as the Belarusian earned the first break of the match in the second game. Down by an early break, Zheng had a chance to get the break back but missed out on three consecutive break points in the third game.

Down 5-2 and serving to stay in the first set, Zheng faced Sabalenka's three consecutive set points but managed ti save them and cut the deficit to 5-3. But Sabalenka closed out the set in the eighth game after converting her fifth set point.

After losing the first set, Zheng also dropped her serve in the first game of the second set. In the fifth game, Zheng fell down by a double break after losing her serve for the third time in the match. 

Leading 5-2 and serving for the match, Sabalenka had three consecutive championship points. But Zheng saved those three championship points - then also saved a fourth championship point - before earning a break point. However, Sabalenka was able to save Zheng's break point and then clinch and realize her fifth championship point to complete a two-set win.

After easily losing to Sabalenka, Zheng acknowledged she needs to further work on her game.

"Yeah, actually it is difficult, you know. Also, maybe I have to work more on my tennis, also work more on my mental side, work more on myself to be able to through this moment," Zheng said after the final. 

"Because if you lose, there must be a reason behind why you lose, and we have to try to figure out why and then come back stronger and better next time."

Zheng Qinwen
Zheng Qinwen© Getty Images Sport - Graham Denholm
 

While Zheng wasn't particularly impressed with her performance against Sabalenka, she admitted that she was happy over the fact that she was able to make a Grand Slam final at 21. 

"Yes, I can feel that (positivity). Generally, improve bit by bit. Obviously, you know, I think Sabalenka is one of the toughest opponents I have faced. But I think I need to improve more myself to be able to face this kind of situation for the next time," Zheng said.

Australian Open