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By Chris Oddo | @TheFanChild | Tuesday September 5, 2023

Three months after pairing with highly sought after coach Wim Fissette, China’s Zheng Qinwen has cracked her biggest career milestone.

The 20-year-old Shanghai native pushed into the quarterfinals on Day 8, defeating World No.5 Ons Jabeur for her biggest career victory, 6-2, 6-4. It was Zheng’s first Top-5 win at a Slam and she was energized by the victory.

Tennis Express

“Honestly the feeling was fantastic, especially in that moment,” she told reporters. “I feel this is like important win for me. Like you say, it's a breakthrough. Especially I played good tennis today. It's not like I won in a defensive way. I won the match today just by my own, to really go ahead to take the match. I think that's what make the difference.”

Zheng has been encouraged by her new coach to believe in her strokes and to be more aggressive with her forehand. She says it is helping her understand what she needs to do to win.

After a 2022 Slam season which saw Zheng have success as she made her debut at all four Grand Slams, Zheng was expecting big things from herself in 2023. When they didn’t happen immediately, she got down on herself.

“I always been waiting this moment to happen,” she said. “Honestly, at the beginning of the year I'm thinking it's going to happen very fast. Because I'm focusing that moment too much about the result and I lost little bit the patience of myself, that affected my tennis.”

She hasn’t lost her self-belief, and told reporters that she knows she is capable of big things.

“You can see I have lot of mistake there. I will say this is just part of my thinking. Of course, I'm super happy to be here, but I will not use the word like 'surprised' because I know what I'm capable to do. I know if I can, I have to focus in right moment right here and don't think too far. I don't want to have the same mistake like at beginning of the year.”

Asked what she believed she was capable of, Zheng said: “I always believe that I'm able to beat everyone if I play the right tennis that I have to play. Of course, the opponent will also play good. There is going to be lot of competition inside. But I believe that if I'm really there fighting for every point, I mean, things going to happen.”

Her coach Fissette, who recently guided Naomi Osaka to two Grand Slam titles, is happy to take things slow and develop Zheng’s game the right way.

“She is really explosive, and you see that in her strokes, like, big serve, big forehands. Lots of possibilities,” he said. “But also still pretty raw. I think it's, like, really interesting project where you can, like, really build the player."

No matter what happens against Sabalenka on Wednesday in New York, Zheng is happy to have lived her best professional tennis moment.

"Yes, in the past all these years, yeah, is the most happy moment," she said.