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Who is Zheng Qinwen, the breakout Australian Open finalist?

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zheng qinwen
Chinese tennis star Zheng Qinwen. Photo/ABC
  • The Australian Open 2024 women’s singles is a big thrill
  • Zheng currently ranked at world No 12 made her way through the top half of the draw
  • This is her first final in a major Grand Slam

The Australian Open 2024 women’s singles is a big thrill and the biggest surprise is Zheng Qinwen who faces off with Aryna Sabalenka in the finals on Saturday.

Zheng currently ranked at world No 12 made her way through the top half of the draw. She won the group that was first led by world No. 5 Jessica Pegula at world No. 3 Elena Rybakina.

The Chinese tennis player defeated Dayana Yastremska, Ashlyn Krueger, Oceane Dodin, Katie Boulter, and Wang Yafan to the finals of the Melbourne event. Her success in moving through an unseeded field is exceptional.

Zheng lost just three sets in the entire competition. She’d never made it past the quarterfinals in a major before her Melbourne campaign. She had a major partnership with coach Pere Riba when they rejoined during the offseason.

They separated after the French Open 2023 and Riba went on to coach Gauff to her first Grand Slam victory in New York this same year. Now, she has a date with fate on Saturday at the women’s singles finals.

Where is Zheng Qinwen From?

zheng qinwen

Zheng Qinwen at the Australian Open. Photo/Indian Today

Zheng Qinwen is a 21-year-old professional Chinese tennis player. She was born in Hubei’s Shiyan Province in October 2002. Her journey in tennis started when she was seven years old and she left Shiyan when she was only eight for Wuhan. She joined a tennis academy here before relocating to Beijing to practice with Carlos Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is Zheng’s idol Li Na’s old coach. In 2019, she and her mother moved to Barcelona where she met her coach Riba. He helped her make her WTA debut among the top 150 players.

She emerged victorious in the $25k Tennis Future Hamburg, Germany tournament, where she triumphed over Linda Fruhvirtová in the Hamburger Tennis-Verband venue. Qinwen defeated Aleksandra Krunić in two sets to win the $60k Macha Lake Open in Staré Splavy in June 2021.

How Old is Zheng Qinwen?

She is 21 years old and she hopes to turn 22 in October 2024 with a Grand Slam win. The Chinese tennis player debuted in major grand slam competitions in 2022. Qinwen played at the 2022 Australian Open as her first major event and defeated Aliaksandra Sasnovich in the opening round of the event.

She lost in the second round in straight sets to Maria Sakkari and earned a global WTA ranking of world No. 80. Confident, she moved up to the French Open 2022 and breezed her way to the fourth round in her second major tournament. Zheng Qinwen defeated Maryna Zanevska in the first round.

She then defeated banned Romanian tennis star Simona Halep, earning her first victory within the top-20. The 21-year-old moved to the third round of a major for the first time in her career. Following the retirement of Alizé Cornet, she advanced to the fourth round.

Zheng Qinwen

Chinese tennis star Zheng Qinwen. Photo/CNN

But Iga Swiatek cut short her winning streak by beating her in the fourth round something she attributed to menstrual cramps. Nevertheless, she felt so fortunate to play with Swiatek who is a three-time French Open champion.

The Australian Open 2024 finalist has never made it past the quarterfinals of her major events since her debut in the WTA Tour. This is the first time she cruised all the way to the top.

Zheng Qinwen Vs Aryna Sabalenka Australian Open Final

There is so much at stake for both Sabalenka and Qinwen in Saturday’s finals in Melbourne. Sabalenka, 25, is rallying for her second Australian Open championship title and her 14th career victory overall.

The Belarusian has won 13 straight games in Melbourne, which is the greatest winning streak since Victoria Azarenka did it from 2012 to 2013. Sabalenka will become the first woman since Azarenka to successfully defend her Australian Open if things go her way on Saturday.

She will also become the second player under the age of 25 to win multiple titles, along with Iga Swiatek. On the other hand, Zheng, is aiming for her third overall title and her first Grand Slam victory. In 2014, ten years after Li Na’s championship run, she made it to her maiden major final. Zheng is the second-youngest Asian finalist and the youngest Chinese Grand Slam finalist in history after Naomi Osaka.

Teresa is a journalist with years of experience in creating web content. She is a wanderlust at heart, but an outgoing sports writer with focus on tennis, athletics, football, motorsports and NBA.

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