Zheng Qinwen Upsets Naomi Osaka in Rome, Swiatek and Sabalenka Advance

China's Zheng Qinwen defeats Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome. Zheng's victory marks her second quarterfinal appearance at a WTA 1000 level or above, following her debut last year at the Foro Italico.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Zheng Qinwen Upsets Naomi Osaka in Rome, Swiatek and Sabalenka Advance

Zheng Qinwen Upsets Naomi Osaka in Rome, Swiatek and Sabalenka Advance

China's Zheng Qinwen, the No. 7 seed, pulled off a significant upset at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia in Rome on Monday, defeating Japan's Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4 to advance to the quarterfinals. The 21-year-old Zheng avenged her previous loss to Osaka in the 2022 San Jose first round, dominating the match with a streak of seven straight games from 2-1 down in the first set to 2-0 up in the second.

Zheng's clinical performance saw her convert all four of her break points and win 78% of her first-serve points compared to Osaka's 68%. The victory marks Zheng's second quarterfinal appearance at a WTA 1000 level or above, following her debut last year at the Foro Italico. "My first junior championship was in Italy. My first ITF championship and my first WTA championship were in Italy. Right now, Rome, second time in quarterfinals. I will just say I love to play here in Italy," Zheng exclaimed on court, thanking the fans in Italian.

Osaka, a four-time Grand Slam champion, has historically struggled on clay surfaces. Despite her recent successes, including wins over Marta Kostyuk and Daria Kasatkina earlier in the tournament, her old troubles resurfaced against Zheng. Osaka's run in Rome still marked her most impressive results on clay since 2019.

Zheng's victory makes her the youngest Asian player in the Open Era to reach back-to-back women's singles quarterfinals at the Italian Open, at the age of 21 years and 217 days. She is also the second Asian player to reach multiple quarterfinals on both hardcourts and clay at the WTA 1000 level before the age of 23, after Osaka. In the quarterfinals, Zheng will face either No. 3 seed Coco Gauff or Paula Badosa.

In other matches, Madison Keys of the United States defeated Romania's Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-1, while Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka also advanced to the quarterfinals. Swiatek, the World No. 1, recently made history by becoming the youngest player in 12 years to capture 20 titles with her win at the Mutua Madrid Open.

As the Internazionali BNL d'Italia continues, Zheng's impressive victory over Osaka and the advancement of top players like Swiatek and Sabalenka set the stage for an exciting finish at Rome's Foro Italico. The tournament, which has seen its share of upsets and milestones, promises to deliver more thrilling matches as it reaches its climax.

Key Takeaways

  • Zheng Qinwen defeats Naomi Osaka 6-2, 6-4 to reach Rome quarterfinals.
  • Zheng avenges 2022 loss to Osaka, winning 7 straight games.
  • Zheng becomes youngest Asian player to reach back-to-back Rome quarterfinals.
  • Iga Swiatek, Aryna Sabalenka, and Madison Keys also advance to quarterfinals.
  • Zheng to face Coco Gauff or Paula Badosa in quarterfinals.