Chinese tennis hasn’t had a whole lot to smile about since the retirement of Li Na last year, but that all changed yesterday when China’s fifth-ranked woman, Duan Ying-Ying, upset Canadian glamor girl Eugenie Bouchard 7-6, 6-4 in the first round at Wimbledon.
The 25-year-old Duan, from Tianjin, had never won a grand slam match in four previous attempts but showed tremendous composure against an out-of-sorts Bouchard to score by far the biggest victory of her young career. She can also expect to move into the top 100 in the world rankings for the first time – surpassing her career best ranking of 104 achieved in May 2013 (she is currently ranked 117).
Could this be the breakthrough win she needed? Duan has been consistent performer on the second-tier ITF circuit since debuting in 2007 with five of those coming in the past three seasons – although the most recent came almost exactly a year ago on home soil in Xi’an.
Known for her big hitting, Duan had to win three qualifying matches just to make it to the main Wimbledon draw before recording her first ever win over a top 20 player. She now plays Germany’s world number 80 Tatjana Maria and must be considered a decent chance of winning again against an opponent who has also never progressed past the second round of a grand slam.
China’s other three players in the women’s draw – Saisai Zheng, Qiang Wang and Yifan Xu all lost their first round matches.