Qinwen Zheng’s Astonishing Australian Open Run Compared to Another Young Champion Who Stunned the Tennis World

Published 01/27/2024, 4:10 AM EST

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via Reuters

Qinwen Zheng is now the hope of 1.4B Chinese people ahead of the mega-final of the Australian Open. The 21-year-old Chinese is on a remarkable run at the first Grand Slam of the season. Can she outclass the defending champion Aryna Sabalenka and clinch her maiden Grand Slam victory on Saturday?

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Well, Gill Gross recently drew a comparison of Qinwen Zheng’s AO run with Elena Rybakina’s incredible run at the 2022 Wimbledon Championships. He explained why Zheng’s run in Melbourne is only the start of a great career in the recent episode of the Inside-In Podcast.

Gill Gross predicts the Chinese rising star, Qinwen Zheng

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Gill Gross said that Qinwen Zheng’s talent is ‘Slam contender level.’ He heaped praise on the Chinese saying she’s in the earliest stages of her development. Although Gross is impressed with her fiery aces, he still believes her serve can get 15-20% better. He believes if Zheng works on her shot selection and decision-making a little bit, then there is no one stopping her.

Gross then drew Elena Rybakina in his speech and said, ‘I think the comparison that I wanna make is of Rybakina at Wimbledon. She hadn’t really gone on like a run like this ever before. But at the same time, I think everybody understood- Oh! That was in her. Maybe she’s ahead of her schedule but we’re not gonna look back at this as a surprising slam in this case champion. And for Zheng Qinwen, it’ll either be a finalist or a champion. I think 5 years from now, it’ll be like- Oh! That was early on. But it makes total sense she was able to do this.

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Although Sabalenka has looked more at home in Melbourne over the last few days. But she had to return to the Chinese microblogging site Weibo ahead of her Final battle to get some support from the Chinese fans.

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Sabalenka looks to get connected with her Chinese fans ahead of her ultimate match against Zheng

Aryna Sabalenka and Qinwen Zheng had practiced together just before the tournament. Both of them have met each other only once at the competitive stage. Although Sabalenka leads the H2H with a thin margin, the Chinese would love to fulfill the wishes of the fans in her homeland.

But before that, Sabalenka announces her return to Weibo after 3 year long hiatus. She wrote, “Excited to be back on Weibo to share my tennis journey with my Chinese fans! It’s going to be an exciting final tomorrow, especially against Qinwen Zheng, a tough competitor. I hope you tune in to watch.”

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On the other hand, Zheng hasn’t faced any big seed in the tournament yet. Although she heaped praise on Sabalenka calling her the ‘most big hitter in the tour’. She believes the distance from the trophy may look small at the moment but it’s still far away. However, she assured her fans that she would do her best to create this historic moment on Saturday.

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Written by:

Sayantan Roy

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Tennis has been my passion since my childhood. My sheer love and enthusiasm for the racket sport has been a major influence in me wanting to build a career in sports journalism. Additionally, being a die-hard Real Madrid fan makes me more connected to my tennis idol-Rafael Nadal, who himself is a huge Los Blancos fan and a contender to become its next President.
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Edited by:

Ananya Giri

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