Zhang sweeps Halep to reach China Open last eight

Beijing, Oct 6 (IANS) China’s top player Zhang Shuai advanced to the quarter-finals of the China Open with a convincing 6-0, 6-4 victory over fourth seed Simona Halep from Romania here on Thursday.

Zhang thus became the first Chinese woman to reach the last eight at the China Open since Li Na did it in 2013, reports Xinhua.

“It’s a very big win today,” said Zhang. “After the Australian Open, this was second time we met this year. I played much better than in the Australian Open because I had more confidence. Especially we are in the China Open, my favourite tournament, so I’m really happy.”

Halep was shocked by Zhang in the first round of this year’s Australian Open, this time the Romanian lost her record of reaching at least the quarter-finals of every event since the Wimbledon Open.

Zhang broke three times to dominate the first set 6-0 in only 18 minutes. Halep had a 3-1 lead in the second set, but the Chinese fought back to win five straight games to seal the victory.

“No special secrets in beating Halep,” said the 27-year-old Zhang.

“I found myself really familiar with her skills. I found it’s relatively easy for me to beat her. Halep did a great job. My coach asked me to learn from her. I watched a lot of her videos and tried to learn her special movements and skills. So I learned a lot from her.”

The World No.36 local favourite faces Johanna Konta from Britain in the quarter-finals.

“Let’s find out what will be happening tomorrow,” said Zhang. “I’m looking forward to playing against her.

“Over the past few years we both moved up our rankings – from more than 100 to 30 for me and now she’s ranked 10 to 20. We are moving from the bottom step by step.”

–IANS

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