Zheng Saisai

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Two years ago, Li Na defeated Francesca Schiavone in the French Open final to win a landmark victory for chinese tennis. The number five of the WTA became the first asian ever to win a Grand Slam in singles. The final was followed by 116 million of people in her country, according to data provided by  the WTA.  After the win in Paris, Li signed endoresement contracts worth at least $42 millon, being the world's higuest-paid female athlete after Maria Sharapova. The chinese even appeared this year in the cover of TIME magazine as one of the most 100 influencial people of the world. "It's an honor to me to be able to help to promote and build further women tennis in my country", she said. It's said that China has nowadays more than 15 million of people playing tennis at the moment.

Zheng Saisai is one of these young players that aspire to repeat Li's success. Born in 1994 in the chinese province of Shaanxi, Zheng was the top junior player from China before switching to professional tour. She reached the number 7 in the rankings and won her first professional title back in 2009 with only 16 years of age (she won a 10K title in Shenzhen). One year later she won the silver medal in singles and the double medal in doubles with fellow countrywoman Tang Hao Chen, another upcoming star, in the Youth Olympic Games celebrated in Singapore. 

Last year she started playing regularly on the ITF circuit, winning a couple of them, including a 50K ITF in Kurume, her biggest title to date. She also played some WTA tournaments outside China and debuted in Grand Slams, playing the qualies in both Wimbledon and the US Open. With wins against players such as Aravane Rezai or Kirsten Flipkens, the good results achieved allowed her to enter the Top 200 of the WTA rankings, ending the season at #133. 

Despite not having had the best start in 2013 (she fell in the rankings to 180), the 19 years-old has already proved that she is one of the biggest tennis prospects in chinese women tennis. Some people in China compare her to Samantha Stosur because of her game style, specially the heavy spin forehand. Anyway she stated to be a great fan of Agnieszka Radwanska. "She's not as tall and as powerful as other european players. Her body shape looks similar to us. But she's still doing well on the tour because she plays smart, with great skills, speed and anticipation. That's a style that fits us, and I should learn from her", she said in an interview to China Daily. 

Zheng is also a great doubles player, where she achieved her best results in the WTA so far. She's right now 14th in the Race to Championships. This season she reached Australian Open semis with Varvara Lepchenko and today she will play the quarters in Roland Garros (again partnering Lepchenko) to try to get into her second Slam semis in a row.