February 11, 2023
China’s Qinwen Zheng showed why she’s one of tennis’ rising stars as the World No.29 storms to eliminate top seed and World No.8 Daria Kasatkina, in the quarter-finals of the Mubadala Abu Dhabi Open presented by Abu Dhabi Sports Council. Also in the day’s court action, second seed and World No.9 Bencic beat USA’s Shelby Rogers 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, to set up a last-four clash against sixth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia.
At the International Tennis Centre, forty-eight hours after knocking out fifth seed Jelena Ostapenko, Zheng returned to Stadium Court and produced another incredible performance against Kasatkina.
The Chinese youngster dropped only three games to secure her place in the semi-finals after a dominating 6-1, 6-2 victory against Kasatkina, dictating from the start and taking the first set 6-1 in just 33 minutes. Her confidence soared as the match progressed, and while Kasatkina tried to find her rhythm, she could do little to disrupt Zheng’s play. At 5-2 up, Zheng converted her second match point to book her place in the next round.
It was her third career victory over a top-10 player following last year’s wins against Ons Jabeur in Toronto and Paula Badosa in Tokyo.
She said: “I’m really happy with my performance tonight. I played good tennis and was aggressive. It wasn’t easy as she’s a very consistent player and I am happy to have given my best. It doesn’t matter who I face next because it will be a very difficult match.”
Earlier in the day, Olympic champion Bencic wowed crowds as she held off Rogers to head into the next round. The opening set saw both players hold their serve, leading to a tie-break which Bencic won. The Swiss then picked up where she left off in the second set, racing to a 5-2 lead before sealing the match.
Speaking after the match, Bencic said: “I’m very happy to come through this match. It wasn’t the prettiest of matches but I was happy to win the first set after a tight tie-break, I stayed focused until the end of the match.”
Bencic will now face sixth seed Beatriz Haddad Maia who recovered from a set down against third seed Elena Rybakina to win 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Meanwhile, in the doubles category, Monica Niculescu and Miyu Kato qualified for Saturday’s semi-final after beating Zhaoxuan Yang and Vera Zvonareva 6-1, 6-3. They will play Luisa Stefani and Shuai Zhang, while Desirae Krawczyk and Giulian Olmos will take on Shuko Aoyama and Hao-Ching Chan for a place in the final.