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.
— Eurosport UK TV (@EurosportUKTV) January 19, 2016
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.
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.
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.
Here’s how Zhang’s colleagues shared their support on Twitter.
Zhang Shuai is making me all teary eyed, being all emotional after her win over Halep. Her first Grand Slam win in 15 attempts.
So happy for Zhang Shuai. Hard work during tough times always pays off! Enjoy! :*
My god! Zhang Shuai, it was so emotional :'( Congrats. Long wait, but such a big win worth it.
Well done to Shuai & her coach Robert. They had a very difficult last year… But hard work always pays off.
For more photos from this match, check out our Tuesday’s photo gallery.