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Sunday, October 04, 2020, 17:42
China's Zhang Shuai makes Round of 16 in French Open
By Xinhua
Sunday, October 04, 2020, 17:42 By Xinhua

China's Zhang Shuai plays a shot against France's Clara Burel in the third round match of the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris, France, Oct 3, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)

PARIS - China’s Zhang Shuai ended the inspirational run of French teenager Clara Burel 7-6(2), 7-5 on Saturday to secure her career debut in the French Open round of 16.

The 31-year-old also became the first Chinese singles player since Li Na in 2012 to reach the fourth round at Roland-Garros.

Burel wasted three set points when she took a 5-3 lead in the first set and stormed to 40-0 in the ninth game. But Zhang battled back to save all three, and held the serve before breaking Burel's in the tenth to level the score at 5-5.

The 31-year-old also became the first Chinese singles player since Li Na in 2012 to reach the fourth round at Roland-Garros

ALSO READ: Zhang Shuai moves into 2nd round of Rogers Cup

After both exchanged serves in the following two games, the former world No. 23 then delivered a dominant performance in the tie break to seal the first set.

"Despite only one week, she has improved a lot since we met last time. She is very young, but she has got everything on the court. Last time in Strasbourg, she didn't go into the game so quickly and played not so steadily. But this time, I can feel her confidence has boosted after winning two rounds at a Grand Slam," said Zhang, who defeated Burel 6-3, 7-6(3) in the Strasbourg Open before coming to Paris.

"I think we both played really well and a really great match. She played unbelievably good, considering she is so young, she has a very bright future," Zhang commented on her opponent.

Although only ranked No. 357 in the world, the 19-year-old Burel has proved herself in junior competitions as the Rennes-born rising star reached two Grand Slam Junior finals and won the silver medal at the Youth Olympic Games in 2018, when she became the junior world No 1.

READ MORE: Zhang Shuai, Djokovic, Gauff into 3rd round

The second set was filled with breaks as both players failed to hold their serves from the 6th to the 11th game. Zhang served to win in the 10th game but was broken by her French opponent. However, when the chance appeared again in the 12th, Zhang didn't miss it and wrapped up the victory with a flawless love game.

Next for Zhang is the winner between Czech No.7 seed Petra Kvitova and Canadian teenager Leylah Fernandez. 


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