Published in Dawn, Oct 5th, 2018,
BEIJING: Zhang Shuai stunned Wimbledon champion Angelique Kerber 6-1, 2-6, 6-0 in the China Open on Thursday to set up a quarter-final clash with Naomi Osaka.
China’s Zhang broke Kerber’s serve five times and fired 22 winners to seal the victory in an hour and 27 minutes in her second meeting with the German.
The 29-year-old looked in complete control against Kerber, cruising through the first set before the German levelled the contest.
Yet Kerber struggled to keep her unforced errors count down, making 36 in the match, and her challenge ended in a final set rout.
Up next for Zhang is US Open champion Osaka, who thumped Julia Goerges 6-1, 6-2 and described the performance as her best of the tournament so far.
Zhang has a 2-2 win-loss record against Osaka and beat the Japanese player in their last meeting in Madrid this season.
China’s Wang Qiang advanced with a 6-4, 6-4 win over world number seven Karolina Pliskova in an hour and 37 minutes while Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands crashed out after a 6-4, 6-3 defeat by Katerina Siniakova.
Australian Open champion Caroline Wozniacki clinched a place in the season-ending tournament alongside Petra Kvitova after beating Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 7-5, 6-4.
The in-form Aryna Sabalenka knocked out defending champion Caroline Garcia 5-7, 7-6 (7-3), 6-0.
Meanwhile on the men’s side, fourth seed Fabio Fognini downed Andrey Rublev 6-4, 6-3, Marton Fucsovics of Hungary beat Marco Cecchinato of Italy 6-4, 6-2, and Nikoloz Basilashvili of Georgia defeated Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6 (7-3), 6-4.
Published in Dawn, October 5th, 2018