MELBOURNE, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) — China’s Zhu Lin ended her run in the Australian Open singles draw on Thursday, losing to Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the second round, 6-7 (8-10), 1-6, despite putting up a hard fight against the No. 18 seed.
Not much separated Zhu and Mertens in a close first set lasting over an hour. The Belgian player was coming off the back of winning the warm-up event, the Gippsland trophy, however in their last match in Dubai in 2019, the Chinese player was victorious.
“It’s obviously a tough match and she just won the last tournament. I remember the last time we played it was also a tough match, three sets, and today I got to set point in the first set but I think I need to be more patient and make more winners,” Zhu told Xinhua in a post-match interview.
Zhu saved several set points, playing well under pressure and claiming important games to force a first-set tiebreak.
The players could not be separated going point for point until two backhand errors gave the Belgian the win.
“I say to myself to focus on the point and have a picture of where I want to hit, have a plan on every point, especially in the big moments. But I think I need to get better at this and just try not to think about the score,” Zhu said.
In the second set, Mertens accelerated her advantage, winning five straight games taking the score to 5-0. The game was closer than the score would indicate, with closely fought games slipping through the Chinese fingers.
“I think I lost my focus after the first set and it’s been a while since I played a match at this level so I need to play more matches like this to get used to the intense level again,” Zhu said.
Meanwhile, in the doubles format, China’s Wang Yafan and Czech player Renata Voracova lost a three-hour battle with local pair Maddison Inglis and Lizette Cabrera, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4, 6-7 (10-12). Enditem