Shuai Peng brought China in the semifinals of the US Open for a second time, following in the footsteps of Li Na, who made it into the last 4 in New York City last year. The 28-year-old dominated Swiss sensation Belinda Bencic in straight sets, winning by 6-2 6-1 in just 1 hour and 4 minutes.
It's her maiden Grand Slam semifinal reached after becoming the first Chinese player to have been ranked at World No.1, even though it was in doubles. New York - She had to wait 37 Slams, and 10 years since that first round she lost at Wimbledon in 2004, her debut in a major tournament.
She went through highs and lows, so high that she became the first Chinese to ever be ranked at World No.1 (in doubles), so low that she even thought about quitting. "You know, there was a moment I had given up, questioning myself and my will to continue" says a tearful Shuai Peng in her on-court interview at the end of the match she won against 17-year-old Belinda Bencic, "I love tennis though, I love the sport and I love playing.
My coach and my family always encouraged me, told me to keep going, sorry I can't speak, am a little too excited". Not many would have thought to see Shuai Peng still competing in the tournament 8 days after Martina Navratilova and John McEnroe both threw a ball in the air to officially inaugurate the 2014 US Open Championships.
Not many and sure not herself. She wasn't the Chinese everyone was looking for, nor the one who broke all records for her country in singles. That was Li Na, the first to win a Slam tournament, twice, the first to make it as far as the semifinals in New York City.
Shuai Peng had reached the fourth round as her best result, a total of 5 times considering her appearance in Queen's. She never went further than that.