Ann Li has quietly made her way to the third round of the US Open, going one round better than she did in Melbourne in January. In New York she took out Aranxta Rus in the first round and then stunned No. 13-seeded Alison Riske, 6-0, 6-3 on Thursday.
"I feel great right now, I can't really say anything else," she told press. "I was ready for a battle. I think I've improved a lot so I was ready for a fun match."
Li's relatively new to the global scene so let's get to know her a little bit better. Here are five things to know:
The 20-year-old is ranked No. 128 with a career-high of No. 122 achieved earlier this year. Her parents are Chinese immigrants and she was born in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania but is based at the USTA Campus in Orlando. Her parents have had to remain at home nearby in Pennsylvania while she traverses life in the New York bubble with her coach Henner Nehles.
Sports run in her blood as her aunt was a professional speed skater in China and her parents were college athletes.
"My dad played soccer in college, my mom ran track," Li told press. "We kind of have a history of sports, but they didn't know anything about tennis really."
She grew up watching Li Na pave the way for Chinese players by winning two Grand Slams and climbing as high as No. 2.
"She was awesome," Li said. "I think that kind of also helped me when I was playing growing up, watching her do her thing."
The American also said she's a "big, huge" Roger Federer fan as well as a passionate pupil of Novak Djokovic saying, "I try to watch him as much as I can."
After picking up the sport at the age of five, she enjoyed a solid junior career that saw her reach as high as No. 12 and appear in the junior Wimbledon final in 2017. She verbally committed to LSU for the 2018-19 school year, but opted to turn pro.
"It would have been fun to play for them just to see how it is because obviously my friends are in college," Li said. "I like how I went this route."
She's staying chilled out in the bubble by listening to country music, which is one of her favorite genres. "I don't only listen to country though," she said.
On Friday in Louis Armstrong Stadium, she'll take on two-time Grand Slam champion Angelique Kerber.
"She is a Grand Slam champion so she must be a pretty good player," Li said. "But I am definitely excited to play her; never played her before. [I'm] looking forward to a physical match."