(January 23, 2016) Before this fortnight, Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai had no match wins in Grand Slam tournaments. She now has three. Zhang, who shocked No. 2 seed Simona Halep in the first round continued her run at the Australian Open, defeating American Varvara Lepchenko 6-1, 6-3 to reach the round of 16.
She hit 27 winners against the American and made 86 percent of her first serves.
Zhang, who thought about retirement when her ranking plummeted to 200 in the world, brought her parents to Melbourne, thinking that it might be her last tournament.
The world No. 133 now has wins over No. 2 Halep, No. 33 Alize Cornet and now No. 51 Lepchenko. She came into the Australian Open 0-14 in Grand Slam matches. She has not dropped a set yet.
Zhang will get a big challenge from her next opponent No. 15 seed Madison Keys who rallied past Ana Ivanovic 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
“I can’t think too much,” said Zhang.
“I just only keep seeing the next point, because I’ve never been in the third round.”
Keys said via statement: “Zhang, we’re so happy for her now. She’s won not only one, but two main draw matches. That’s great for her. I haven’t played her since three, four years now. Obviously she’s playing well if she’s had the upsets that she’s had, so either match will be tough.”