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China's Zhang Shuai, Wang Qiang into Australian Open third round

XINHUA 徽标 XINHUA 2022/1/20 JacobTomkins,Bai Xuefei
© Provided by Xinhua EN

Zhang Shuai of China returns the ball during the women's singles second round match against Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 20, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

China's Zhang Shuai joins compatriot Wang Qiang in the third round of the Australian Open after winning over a retired Elena Rybakina.

SYDNEY, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- China's Zhang Shuai has progressed to the third round of the Australian Open after her opponent Elena Rybakina retired in the second set.

Zhang's compatriot Wang Xinyu was struck down by Belarussian world No. 2 Aryna Sabalenka.

Zhang's game came to a dramatic end after Kazakhstani, No. 12 seed, withdrew one game into the second set, the final score reached 6-4, 1-0.

Rybakina held her own in the first set but ultimately pulled out with a leg injury as Zhang blazed into the second set.

Zhang will now go on to face Belgium's world No. 26 Elise Mertens in the third round.

She joins Wang Qiang as the only other Chinese player who has made it into the third round. Wang will face U.S. player Madison Keys, ranked 51st, on Friday.

© Provided by Xinhua EN

Zhang Shuai of China is interviewed after the women's singles second round match against Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 20, 2022. (Xinhua/Bai Xuefei)

Chinese world No. 100 Wang Xinyu was unable to make it to round three after Belarusian Sabalenka turned around their game despite a shaky first set handed to her with 12 double faults.

During the second set the world No. 2 regained her confidence and rhythm, as she picked up her service game with a first serve win percentage of 80 percent.

By the third and final set, Wang Xinyu was unable to gain any ground on the Belarusian hard-hitter, and a series of aces in the final game tied up the match. The final score was 1-6, 6-4, 6-2.

After the match, Wang Xinyu said she was happy to have had the chance to compete in the Rod Laver Arena against a top player.

"Looking forward to improving every time, and to come back next time doing better," she said.

It was first time for Wang Xinyu to make it to the second round of a grand slam tournament.

© Provided by Xinhua EN

Wang Xinyu (L) of China greets Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus after their women's singles second round match at Australian Open in Melbourne Park, in Melbourne, Australia, on Jan. 20, 2022. (Photo by Hu Jingchen/Xinhua)

Meanwhile in the doubles, China's Han Xinyun partnered with Australian Monique Adamczak to beat first-round opponents, German Tatjana Maria and American Madison Brengle, 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3.

Following a nail-biting finish to the second set, the duo were able to quickly finish out the game with a double service break. 

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