Zhang's Australian Open dream run ended by unseeded Konta
Updated: 2016-01-27 15:39
China's Zhang Shuai hits a shot during her quarter-final match against Britain's Johanna Konta at the Australian Open tennis tournament at Melbourne Park, Australia, Jan 27, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]
MELBOURNE - Chinese qualifier Zhang Shuai's dream run at the Australian Open has come to an abrupt end, losing to unseeded Englishwoman Johanna Konta in the quarter-finals on Wednesday.
The 26-year-old couldn't muster a ninth straight win at this year's Open, with Konta taking advantage of her tiring opponent to win 6-4, 6-1.
Konta raced two breaks to the good in the opening set. Zhang mounted a comeback, pulling a break back but not the other.
The world No. 47 coasted from then on, only dropping one game in the second set on her way to becoming the first British woman to make a Grand Slam semi-final since 1983.
After waiting eight years for a maiden win in the main draw of a Grand Slam, Zhang managed four in the space of 10 days.
But her incredible run to the latter stages of the tournament ran out of steam on Wednesday as she had no answer for Konta - another unheralded player to come form the clouds to challenge for this year's title.
Despite winning in straight sets, the Australian-born 24-year-old said she never felt comfortable against Zhang.
"(Zhang) definitely didn't make it easy for me today," Konta said.
"Every time I got a little ahead (on the scoreboard) she was constantly there."
Understandably, after playing an extra three matches than Konta in order to qualify, Zhang looked drained, only managing to produce 12 winners throughout the match.
While it means China no longer has a representative in the women's single draw, Chinese pairing Xu Yifan and Zheng Saisai will play later Wednesday for the chance to playoff in the double's final.