Wang Qiang is China's No. 1 player and one of the most under-the-radar stories of 2018. Having just beaten Jelena Ostapenko, 6-0, 6-0 in Beijing, the 26-year-old has fully announced herself as a force on the WTA tour.
That match has been the highlight of a phenomenal winning streak playing in her home nation. Some players feel immense pressure to perform for their local crowds, but Wang seems to thrive in front of her fans.
In 2018, she has lost just one completed match in China.
Last week in Wuhan, she reached the semifinals but was forced to retire against Anett Kontaveit with a left thigh injury. Just before that run, she won the International WTA title in Guangzhou. She also won the International event in Nanchang back in July. That marked her biggest WTA title, but she had won a WTA $125K Series in 2017 in... you guessed it, China (Zhengzhou, to be precise). Her only completed loss on Chinese soil was in January in the first round of Shenzhen.
That's a remarkable statistic for the world No. 28, who might just be pulling a Li Na and peaking late. She's now 16-2 in China after taking out Karolina Pliskova in the third round in Beijing.
"Now I'm doing well. This is kind of a surprise for all of us," Wang said. "I believe at this stage when I'm relaxed, I can do better. I do not want to focus on ranking or victories, I just want to be relaxed and enjoy the matches here."
ATP Beijing & Tokyo (Sep. 30-Oct. 7)
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