She said Li’s win at Roland Garros last year _ along with her march to the Australian Open final before that _ not only encouraged more Chinese children to take up the sport, but made her believe she could capture a major, as well.
Zheng has been close before. She and Li both made the semifinals of the Australian Open in 2010 _ the first time any Chinese player had advanced that far in Melbourne. She also made the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2008.
Zheng has been ranked as high as No. 15, but she struggled last year after coming back from wrist surgery. Feeling fit again, she’s off to a quick start in 2012, winning an Australian Open tuneup event in Auckland, New Zealand.
She also picked up some new dance moves in Auckland, performing rapper Jay-Z’s signature shoulder-brushing move from the single “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” in a video for the tournament website.
Asked on Saturday if she’s become a hip hop fan, she laughed. “Oh, I think this not my style,” she said. “After my video, every player (who) watch me don’t say hello, (they) say `Yo, yo.’”
At his postmatch news conference, tournament organizers presented him with a strawberry-topped birthday cake, which was a minor consolation for his lopsided _ but injury-related _ 6-0, 6-1, 6-1 loss to No. 1-ranked Novak Djokovic in the third round.
Mahut injured a tendon in his left leg during the match and was wearing a brace at his news conference. He said the only reason he finished the match was because Saturday’s first contest at Rod Laver Arena ended abruptly when Maria Kirilenko walked off after a set with a leg injury, gifting the victory to Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova.
The next match, Maria Sharapova’s 6-1, 6-2 win over Angelique Kerber, wasn’t much of a crowd-pleaser, either.
“There were a lot of people in the stadium and they paid good money for their tickets,” Mahut said. “So I figured I owed it to them to try to continue.”
Djokovic was impressed by Mahut’s commitment.View Entire Story
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