Zhang emulates Li Na with last 16 place at Roland Garros

Paris (AFP) –

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Zhang Shuai on Saturday became the first Chinese woman to reach the last 16 at Roland Garros since former champion Li Na in 2012.

Zhang, 31, defeated French wildcard, and world number 357, Clara Burel 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 and will next face either seventh seed Petra Kvitova or 18-year-old Canadian Leylah Fernandez.

The 39th-ranked Zhang will be looking to equal her best performance at the Slams which she achieved in 2016 when she came through qualifying to reach the quarter-finals at the Australian Open.

She also made the last eight at Wimbledon in 2019.

Zhang, the only Chinese woman in the draw in Paris this year, has tasted Grand Slam success before, winning the Australian Open doubles title with Sam Stosur last year.

It was a dramatic contrast to her mood at the end of 2015 when she was pondering retirement from the sport.