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US Open quarter-finalist Zheng wins Asian Games gold

US Open quarter-finalist Zheng wins Asian Games gold

China's Qinwen Zheng celebrates winning a point against compatriot Lin Zhu (not pictured) during the women's singles final tennis match at the 2022 Hangzhou Asian Games in Hangzhou, in China's eastern Zhejiang province on September 29, 2023. — AFP pic

HANGZHOU, Sept 29 — US Open quarter-finalist Zheng Qinwen won a battle of the top seeds to clinch the Asian Games women’s tennis gold Friday and burnish her fast-growing reputation.

The 20-year-old, China’s brightest young tennis star, battled through the Hangzhou heat to outlast teammate Zhu Lin and seal the title 6-2, 6-4 in 1hr 44mins.

It caps a breakthrough year for Zheng, who beat world number seven Ons Jabeur en route to the last eight at Flushing Meadows this month before crashing to top-ranked Aryna Sabalenka.

In May she reached a career-high 19 in the world and two months later won her first WTA title.

Now under the wing of Naomi Osaka’s former coach Wim Fissette, who has also worked with Victoria Azarenka and Simona Halep, Zheng’s blend of power and precision proved decisive in the final against Zhu.

The world number 23 broke twice in the opening set and dominated with her serve.

Zhu, ranked 10 places lower, fought hard to stay in the match, rallying from a break down in the second set to level at 3-3.

But Zheng dug deep to break again with a searing cross-court forehand for 5-4 and then held her nerve to serve out the win.

Taiwan’s Hsu Yu-hsiou and Jason Jung won men’s doubles gold, beating India’s Saketh Myneni and Ramkumar Ramanathan 6-4, 6-4.

Chinese top seed Zhang Zhizhen, who made the third round at the French Open and US Open this year, will meet second seed Yosuke Watanuki of Japan in the men’s singles final on Saturday. — AFP