China’s Zhang Shuai remained upbeat despite her loss to Johanna Konta of Great Britain in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open on Wednesday.
Konta defeated Zhang in straight sets, winning 6-4, 6-1 to book herself a semi-final against seventh seed Angelique Kerber on Thursday.
What had made Zhang’s achievement remarkable in reaching the quarter-final stage is that she arrived at Melbourne Park having failed to win a match in the main draw of a grand slam in 14 attempts.
In an interview after the match, Zhang congratulated her opponent, saying that she deserved to have won their encounter.
“Today congrats she plays so well. And very big serve and very few mistakes. For me very tough. I already try my best, but it’s so tough. Yeah, she plays so well.”
Zhang said that she was feeling very tired having already played seven matches. “Yeah, feeling so tired. Everything feeling very slow on court.
“But in my heart, I’m feeling I already win the tournament because I win seven matches. Yeah, doesn’t matter win, lose today, just keep going.
“I have a few days off, try working hard to be ready for the next tournament.”
When asked what the impact had been on her success at Melbourne, Zhang said that she had gained a lot of confidence including the hope of making the Chinese Olympic team.
“Yeah, big difference, I think. Gives me more confidence. I feel very tough, because for the Chinese players their goal this year is to play in the Olympic Games. This is a big goal.
“I have to win a lot of matches in half year to climb from 200 to top 60, this is very tough. To reach my Olympic goal, I must win a lot of big matches.”
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