Source: China State Council Information Office
China’s veteran Wang Yafan overcame her slow start to stun 22nd seed Sorana Cirstea from Romania on Tuesday, reaching the Australian Open second round for the first time since 2019.
Wang Yafan of China hits a return during the women’s singles first round match between Wang Yafan of China and Sorana Cirstea of Romania at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 16, 2024. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)
Wang, ranked 94th in the world, beat Cirstea 0-6, 7-5, 6-2 in one hour and 57 minutes at Melbourne Park on Tuesday evening.
It marked a second straight major upset in the first round at a grand slam tournament for Wang, who had beaten seventh seed Caroline Garcia to make the second round at the 2023 US Open, capping off a year where she climbed the rankings from outside the top 400 to the top 100.
Wang was dominated by the Romanian in the first set, winning only nine points and hitting 11 unforced errors, as Cirstea claimed the opener in only 21 minutes.
Cirstea looked heading for victory when she broke serve for a fourth consecutive time to take a 2-0 lead in the second set, but the 29-year-old Wang fought back, leveling the score at 4-4 and taking the lead for the first time at 6-5, eventually winning the set in 59 minutes.
From then on, Wang kept her momentum to break serve three times in the decider to claim the victory.
It was Wang’s second win over Cirstea in three career matches. She will face either 2021 US Open champion Emma Raducanu or American Shelby Rogers in the second round.