Not only should China be very happy because of the Chinese New Year right now, but they should also be very proud of their tennis players - Yan Zi and Zheng Jie became the first Chinese players to win a Grand Slam title. True, Michael Chang won the French Open in 1989, but he was a Chinese-American who played for America.
Yan and Zheng win Australian Open women's doubles
By JOHN BROCK, Associated Press Writer
January 27, 2006
MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Yan Zi and Zheng Jie became the first Chinese players to win a Grand Slam title, beating Lisa Raymond and Samantha Stosur 2-6, 7-6 (7), 6-3 in the Australian Open women's doubles final Friday.
Yan and Zheng trailed 3-1 in the second set and staved off two match points in the tiebreaker before winning in 2 hours, 15 minutes.
"We're very excited to win the tournament," Yan told the center-court crowd that included a small group of vocal Chinese supporters waving the country's national flag.
"They gave us a great match today," Yan added.
Yan and Zheng also saved three match points in their quarterfinal victory over fourth-seeded Virginia Ruano Pascual and Paola Suarez.
Their victory follows the win by compatriots Sun Tiantian and Li Ting in the doubles final at the Athens Olympics in 2004. Sun and Li were beaten in the third round here by Raymond and Stosur.
Yan, who has played with Zheng for five years, said they had been nervous in the first set before settling into a rhythm.
"It's our first time on center court, it's so big, so many people" she said.
The top seeds appeared on course for a second straight Grand Slam -- they won the U.S. Open title last September -- when they raced through the first set and gained a break in the second set.
But Yan and Zheng refused to buckle. They broke Australian Stosur's serve in the sixth game with some stinging volleying to level the second set.
Raymond and Stosur gained the advantage by breaking for a 6-5 lead, but with Raymond then serving for the match, a missed overhead by Stosur gave the Chinese duo two break points of their own.
Though they missed the first, they got the second when Stosur put a backhand into the net.
In the next tiebreaker, Stosur earned a match point at 6-5 with an ace, but then put another backhand into the net. A second match point at 7-6 on Raymond's serve also was saved before Zheng closed out the set with a backhand winner.
The Chinese pair broke Raymond's serve twice in the final set and took the title when a Stosur forehand hit the net.
"Once they got a sniff, they didn't let it go," Stosur said.
Yan and Zheng won their first WTA Tour doubles titles last year in Hobart, Australia and Hyderabad, India and were finalists in Bali and Beijing.
"Since the end of the match my mobile phone has been ringing nonstop," Zheng said. "This title is one of the best gifts we can give to the Chinese people."