China’s Saisai Zheng continued playing her role as deal breaker for well known players as she added another victim to her record book at the Qatar Total Open. It was a third round smash over Eugenie Bouchard leading to a 7-6(1), 6-1 on Court 1 at the Khalifa International Tennis Complex Wednesday.
The Canadian had defeated the Chinese star in their last two meetings but with her own struggles showing so far, she’d try to step it up against a fierce opponent. Zheng pulled off the big upset against Angelique Kerber making the victory against her look too easy in the second set. With the top half of the bracket slightly easier to a quarterfinal spot both girls will do what they must to get into the round of 16.
Zheng got into a draw on deuce in the first game where after to breaks she broke Bouchard service to lead off the bat. Bouchard went down 2-0 showing signs of struggle playing Zheng’s serve. She got back in it slowly putting things into gear before leveling back through four games. The Canadian opened the door for the Chinese star again as her service game sat below par finding herself in a deuce draw. It took just a break where Bouchard’s return in the rally smashed into the net for the error.
Despite the problems, Bouchard held well when returning as she and Zheng traded off wins on the break before the Canadian struck back with a strong service hold. She continued showing tremendous improvements playing with help from the wind that gave her a big lead serving out for the set. A couple of unforced errors on the part of Bouchard cost her the chance of closing out the set having to play aginst Zheng’s serve to get it done.
Things were tight in the ninth game with both ladies trying to outdo the other. Bouchard pushed ahead on the scoreboard before her efforts were tamed to give Zheng a chance to strike back. After a 34 shot rally, the chinese star saved her service and pushed to deuce before capturing the win and moving onward in the set.
Bouchard was finding herself in another tight situation playing her third straight set beyond the required six games. It was a tiebreaker that she had to deal with as Zheng took the first point. She took a 4-1 lead before easily getting the set win in over an hours time.
The second set was an absolute blowout as Zheng dominated Bouchard in every game leading her to a possible bagel to win the match. The Chinese star was up 5-0 with Bouchard trying to stay alive. She did so in the sixth avoiding embarrassment by holding Zheng back to seal a win to her name.
She tried going for the break point to win a second by a net shot was answered by the Chinese star keeping her in the game to end things on deuce. It took two breaks for Zheng to get the job done as the unforced errors by Bouchard weighed too heavily to make a miraculous comeback. It was done in 95 minutes with the 22 year old playing impressive tennis as she maintained a first serve percentage of 79 with a solid second serve near 70. Her advancement into the quarterfinals has her playing the winner between Petra Kvitova and Jelena Ostapenko Thursday.