Zhang Shuai of China hits a return during the women's singles second round match against Catherine McNally of the United States at the 2020 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 22, 2020. (Photo by Bai Xue/Xinhua)
MELBOURNE, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- China's Zhang Shuai moved through to round three of the Australian Open after toppling U.S. player Catherine McNally 6-2, 6-4 on Wednesday.
The two players battled not just each other but also challenging windy conditions on the outdoor courts, and Zhang told Xinhua after the match that she found it difficult to position her shots.
"I feel today's wind is very strong so it's difficult to say who is performing very well especially when we play outside," she said.
"It's difficult for us to hit the balls where we want so under these conditions. I'm happy to win because it's not easy."
"Normally when the wind is strong I don't play very well and my opponent varied her tactics so I'm happy to enter the third round," Zhang added.
After defeating former U.S. Open champion Sloane Stephens in spectacular fashion on Monday night, Zhang moved into the second round in confident standing.
She said that having won last year's Australian Open women's doubles title, alongside local star Sam Stosur, also gave her an improved confidence in her ability to perform at major events.
Riding that wave of success, the 35th-ranked player reached the quarterfinals at Wimbledon last year, her best singles performance at a Grand Slam since reaching the same round of the Australian open in 2016.
Zhang will face world No. 14 Sofia Kenin from the U.S. in round three.