Zheng Jie becomes first Chinese semifinalist at Australian Open

08:51, January 27, 2010      

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Zheng Jie of China celebrates her victory after the women's singles quarterfinal match against Maria Kirilenko of Russia in 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 26, 2010. Zheng won 2-0. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

Zheng Jie became the first Chinese player to reach the semifinals at the Australian Open when she eased past Maria Kirilenko of Russia 6-1, 6-3 on Tuesday.

Zheng, a surprise Wimbledon 2008 semifinalist, will next face former world number one Justine Henin, who is playing her first Grand Slam tournament after returning from an 18-month retirement. The Belgian defeated Russian No. 19 seed Nadia Petrova 7-6(3), 7-5 in another fourth-round match.

"Henin, for me, is such a good player," Zheng said. "She's so strong mentally -- I just want to go out there and enjoy the match and play well."


Zheng Jie of China celebrates one point during the women's singles quarterfinal match against Maria Kirilenko of Russia in 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 26, 2010. Zheng won 2-0. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

The unseeded Zheng has knocked out seeded players in three consecutive rounds after defeating Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez, the 24th seed, then upsetting 11th seed Marion Bartoli of France in round three and No.31 seed Alona Bondarenko of Ukraine in round four.

The 26-year-old Zheng has won two Grand Slam championship in doubles taking both the 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon titles with partner Yan Zi.


Zheng Jie (R) of China shakes hands with Maria Kirilenko of Russia after the women's singles quarterfinal match in 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 26, 2010. Zheng won 2-0. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

"I feel this court is lucky for me so I hope I can be here at the end of the week," she said.

Another Chinese player Li Na has the opportunity to join Zheng in the semis when she plays Venus Williams in Wednesday's quarterfinal. If she does it will create further history -- the first time two Chinese players have made it to Grand Slam semis singles action.


Zheng Jie of China returns the ball during the women's singles quarterfinal match against Maria Kirilenko of Russia in 2010 Australian Open Tennis Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 26, 2010. Zheng won 2-0. (Xinhua/Wang Lili)

Source: Xinhua
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