Qinwen & Wang Lead Young Chinese Charge
As the ATP have confirmed there will be no Chinese swing this year, citing COVID restrictions in the country and the WTA refusing to host events until they have reached a solution with China over the standoff surrounding Peng Shuai, there are no home events for players this year.
The situation over Peng Shuai potentially means that Chinese players are missing out on coverage elsewhere. The WTA requires confirmation she is safe and will not return events until satisfied. Having this issue hanging over the tour could impact other Chinese players.
However, at the US Open series this summer, Chinese women are leading the charge, trying to bring the focus onto playing, and not politics. we will focus on two of the up coming stars that are the future of Chinese tennis.
Youngest of the two leading the charge, Qinwen Zheng has quite the season already. Starting with the Australian Open, the 19-year-0ld came through qualifying before losing to Maria Sakkari in the second round. Seeded second at the ITF event following the Australian Open, Zheng eased through each match and claimed the title.
A few early losses in the next few events set the 19-year-old back a little, but in Charleston Qinwen Zheng took out Sloan Stephens in the first round. At the French Open, Qinwen Zheng took out Simona Halep in the second round, and totally dominated Alize Cornet before top seed Iga Świątek ended her run. Zheng’s second title of the year came in Valencia where she defeated compatriot Wang Xiyu in the final.
The grass court season didn’t start well as Zheng lost in the first rounds in both Berlin and Eastbourne. However, Grand Slams seem to suit the 19-year-old as she made the third round at Wimbledon. It will be interesting to see if Zheng plays the US Open, and if she does how well she performs. She just lost to Naomi Osaka in the first round in San Jose, but there’s no shame in that loss.
21-year-old Xiyu Wang hasn’t had the greatest of seasons so far. Losing in the second round of the Australian Open, before making the quarter final of an ITF event in January. Wang didn’t make it through qualifying at the Miami Open, but the 21-year-old then made the final of another ITF event where she was beaten by Katie Volynets in straight sets.
The following week Wang was in another ITF final but was defeated by Louisa Chirico. Two more ITF events followed in quick succession, where Wang made the finals, but lost both in straight sets. Wang didn’t get into the main draw of the French Open, losing in the second round of qualifying.
The first main tour final for Wang was in Valencia, which she lost to Zheng. Grass didn’t seem to agree with the Chinese either as Wang lost in the first round at Wimbledon. At the Hungarian Open, however, Wang got a huge win as she took out the top seed in the first round. Wang made the quarter final before losing out. A couple of first round losses followed.
At the Citi Open in Washington, Wang had to come through qualifying, and this time made the main draw. After a super first round win, Wang now has a match against Donna Vekić to look forward to. Can the Chinese take the win and move on, trying to show the world that Chinese tennis is on the rise? Only time will tell. But certainly, China has a couple of new tennis stars making an impact on the WTA tour.
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