On Tuesday night in Doha, Qinwen Zhang capped off an 11-shot rally with a blistering tweener-winner considered an early candidate for “shot of the year.”
In today’s day and age, tweeners are becoming more and more commonplace. What sets this shot from Zhang above the rest is her ability to run down the Sakkari lob and accurately place the ball just over the high point of the net. Sakkari was closing in on the net and had no chance to touch the shot.
Zhang would go on to win that second set 6-3 but ultimately dropped the decider 3-6 in Round 1 of the Qatar Total Open. Despite the loss, Zhang has proven her mettle against some of the best players in the world over recent months. Over the past five months, she has picked up wins over Paula Badosa, Ons Jabeur, Daria Kasatkina, Veronika Kudermetova, and Jelena Ostapenko. The 20-year-old currently sits with a career-high ranking of world No. 24. She is the second highest-ranked WTA player born in 2002 or later, behind Coco Gauff.
Shot of the year. pic.twitter.com/FgoS2J0o7o
— José Morgado (@josemorgado) February 14, 2023
Zhang’s ability to make the extraordinary look ordinary is one of the many reasons she is a name to watch going forward. She made it out of only two first rounds at Masters 1000 events and reached one Slam second week last season, leaving a lot of points up for grabs in 2023. Zhang will play much of the 2023 season with “house money” as she continues her ascent up the rankings.
Main Photo from Getty.