Emotions: Zhang’s win over Halep tears up everyone, including WTA players

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Shuai Zhang - 2016 Australian Open -D3M_5327-2
When you win your first main-draw Grand Slam match in 15 tries

Zhang Shuai needed fifteen Grand Slams to record her first main-draw match victory at such a big tennis event and today that she has done it, it came in style, against world number two Simona Halep in the first round of the Australian Open.

The 26-year-old, whose pro career started way back in 2003, was naturally ecstatic, but so were the tennis fans in the stands, the TV audience and her fellow WTA players.

Shuai Zhang - 2016 Australian Open -D3M_5356-2
Handshake after the match

The world No.133 qualifier upset Halep in straight sets, 6-4 6-3, making the Romanian the first women’s top-two seed to lose in the opening round in Australia since 1979.

Simona Halep - 2016 Australian Open -D3M_5379-2 (1)
Disappointed Halep leaving the court after the loss.

The emotional moment of this story is even stronger when you know that Zhang thought about retiring after the US Open, as she couldn’t win a match and “was so sad”, and came to this Australian Open with her parents, thinking that it might be her last tournament.

Simona Halep - 2016 Australian Open -DSC_6806
Halep at the post-match press conference

Here’s how Zhang’s colleagues shared their support on Twitter.

Heather Watson

Zhang Shuai is making me all teary eyed, being all emotional after her win over Halep. Her first Grand Slam win in 15 attempts.

Yanina Wickmayer

So happy for Zhang Shuai. Hard work during tough times always pays off! Enjoy! :*

Elena Vesnina

My god! Zhang Shuai, it was so emotional :'( Congrats. Long wait, but such a big win worth it.

Caroline Garcia

Well done to Shuai & her coach Robert. They had a very difficult last year… But hard work always pays off.


  1. Zhang sure played the match like it was her last match!!! Maybe she should treat every match like it’s her last match and then we can see a lot more of her 🙂 As far as simona is considered I should say I’m not surprised she lost. I must say top 10 quality has rather been really poor in wta since 2008-09. there is no consistency among top 10 players at all. The only players in current top 10 who are consistent are serena and maria ( whose body is giving up on her) I have hope and faith in muguruza but we will have to wait and see.Petra usually comes around like a beast on;y for one tournament and unfortunately that came at madrid and not at a slam It’s so dissapointing to never getting to see top 8 players play against each other in slams. That’s the reason I’m so glad Vika is returning to her form even though I can’t stand her attitude. Hopefully kuznetsova is also returning to top. players like simona, aga, caro are always in semis and finals of smaller tournaments but very rarely in slams. whenever their opponents catch fire they seem to have no answers at all. In yesterdays match simona repeatedly tried to outhit zhang even though she was failing miserably at it constantly. she kept on going towards zhangs backhand rather than going for her comparatively weaker forehand or varying lengths of her shots or coming to net. she needs to be able to come up with new plans on court if she wants to win a slam. God I so miss era where players like henin , clijsters ,venus and many other were present to constantly challenge serena in slams.
    I’d like to know if you people think we will see less upsets if women played set matches like men( which I believe they should since they get equal pay ) and also Marija what do you think about simona’s outfit? 😛

  2. As a Zhang follower of 3.5 years, this win is not a huge surprise. Zhang came to play in 2013, but after that her only appearance in Japan was last November Tokyo ITF. I went to cheer her, of course, and spectators there were all convinced that she is over her injury and came back to her full power mode. Big big congratulations to her. We believe that win in Tokyo encouraged her a lot to abandon the idea of retiring.

    2R in Tokyo photos:


  3. Sru, Simona’s outfit is my favorite of the new adidas adizero clothes. I prefer the contrast to Ivanovic’s dress. What do you say?


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