China’s tennis sensation Zheng Qinwen beat American Alycia Parks 6-4, 6-4 in her debut at the WTA 500 Stuttgart Open on Monday and will face World No. 1 Iga Swiatek of Poland in the second round.

Zheng had lost 6-3, 7-6 (4) to Parks last year in their only previous meeting, the first round of WTA Berlin. That was Zheng’s first-ever professional match on grass.

On the indoor clay of Stuttgart, the 20-year-old Chinese proved more consistent.

Parks managed to tally eight aces to Zheng’s four, but this was outweighed by 11 double faults.

On the challenges from Parks’ powerful serves, Zheng said: “She’s little bit tough to beat because she has a really huge serve. That’s difficult for return. I think she has the most fast serve in the tour at the moment.”

“It’s always difficult to play against this kind of player because you know once you lose your serve, it can be really dangerous. I need to be really concentrated on every serve. Once I make the break, it’ll make a difference, like this match.”

Zheng also expressed her wish to play “in the center court” for her next match against Swiatek, the top seed and the defending champion.

Zheng and Swiatek squared off twice last year, in the fourth round of Roland Garros and second round of San Diego, with the Pole winning both matches in three sets.

“The first time when we met, she was No. 1 in the world, I was coming from nowhere. I think now I get a little bit more experience,” said Zheng.

“I hope I can have good performance in the next match. I want to show my best tennis. You never know what’s going to happen on tennis court. That’s the beauty of the sport,” she added.

Zheng, currently the No. 1 Chinese tennis player, was awarded the 2022 WTA Newcomer of the Year. After picking up from an abdominal injury, she achieved her career-best ranking of world No. 23 last month, courtesy of her semi-final run at this year’s Abu Dhabi Open, where she defeated the likes of Daria Kasatkina and Jelena Ostapenko.


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