Melbourne, Jan 22: China's Wang Qiang and Zhang Shuai breezed through to round three of the Australian Open, with players overcoming windy conditions at Melbourne Park on Wednesday.
Wang defeated Frenchwoman Fiona Ferro 6-1, 6-2, while Zhang beat Catherine McNally of the United States 6-2, 6-4. Not so fortunate was China's Zhu Lin, who bowed out at the hands of Alison Riske 6-3, 6-1, and Zheng Saisai, who gave an impressive but ultimately unsuccessful effort against defending champion Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4. Zhang said after her match with McNally that strong wind gusts sweeping through the outdoor courts made it difficult to place shots where she wanted them. "I feel today's wind is very strong so it's difficult to say who is performing very well especially when we play outside," she said.
"It's difficult for us to hit the balls where we want so under these conditions I'm happy to win because it's not easy." If the wind bothered Wang, it was less obvious - the Chinese player swiftly dispatched Ferro in straight sets with her superior swing. Ferro fought hard for every point she claimed, however, the pressure was never really on for Wang as the Frenchwoman's errors mounted and ultimately cost her the match. Meanwhile Zheng bowed out of the tournament despite causing world No. 3, Osaka obvious frustration when they met in the first match of the day.
Osaka dropped and kicked her racquet after losing her serve in the second set, in an unusually emotional display for the softly-spoken Japanese player. "I definitely got very frustrated in the second set and it's something that I knew would happen but I didn't know exactly what she would do to make me frustrated," Osaka told Xinhua after the match. The doubles competition also kicked off on Wednesday but yielded similarly unfavourable results for Chinese competitors. Yang Zhaoxuan and her Ukrainian partner Lyudmyla Kichenok went down 6-4, 6-1 to local pair Kaylah McPhee and Maddison Inglis. While Xu Yifan and Nicole Melichar lost 6-3, 6-4 to United States duo Jennifer Brady and Caroline Dolehide. (UNI)