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Qinwen Zheng immediately ‘drug tested’ after emphatic Australian Open final defeat | Tennis | Sport


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Qinwen Zheng faced another tough hour after losing the Australian Open final to Aryna Sabalenka, as Laura Robson noticed that the No. 12 seed had been called for drug testing following her disappointing defeat. Competing in her first Grand Slam final, Zheng suffered an emphatic 6-3 6-2 defeat in just 76 minutes.

Zheng enjoyed the best fortnight of her young career, reaching her first Grand Slam final and breaking the world’s top 10 in the process. But she just fell short of lifting a maiden Major trophy as she came up against a red-hot Sabalenka, who didn’t drop a set throughout the tournament as she successfully defended her Australian Open crown.

The Chinese star admitted that she felt conflicted in the wake of defeat – believing she could “do better” in the final but feeling proud of herself for reaching that stage in the first place. But she didn’t have much time to process her emotions after walking off the court as behind-the-scenes cameras showed Zheng walking through a corridor with an official, as Laura Robson noted that she was about to complete anti-doping testing.

“Having just watched this clip of her walking out there, she’s off to do drug testing,” the former pro-turned-pundit said on Eurosport. “So it’s not going to be an enjoyable next hour or so while she’s trying to pee into a cup. But rules are rules, you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do.”

Robson also thought that Zheng had plenty to be proud of following her fortnight in Melbourne, something the 21-year-old would likely realise after getting over the crushing final defeat. The Brit continued: “And then once she gets over the disappointment of today she’ll realise she’s had an outstanding two weeks and really maybe didn’t think that she would be in the final here.

“She took advantage of a wide open top half of the draw and you just got to play who is in front of you. She didn’t play anyone in the top 50 to get to the final so I think that didn’t help her tonight because it was a difference in class playing Sabalenka. But I feel like she’s got the game on the clay court to do very, very well.”

And Sabalenka herself agreed after dispatching Zheng in a 76-minute masterclass. The world No. 2 backed her opponent to pick up her own Grand Slam trophies in the future.

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