Zhang Shuai (above) was up against it in her fourth-round match -- her seventh overall this tournament - after falling behind to Madison Keys © Getty Images
Zhang Shuai (above) was up against it in her fourth-round match — her seventh overall this tournament – after falling behind to Madison Keys © Getty Images

Melbourne: Australian Open surprise packet Zhang Shuai of China on Monday showed no mercy to injury-ravaged American woman tennis player Madison Keys, recovering from a set down to progress to the quarter-finals. The 27-year-old qualifier was up against it in her fourth-round match — her seventh overall this tournament – after falling behind to Keys. But cheered on by a strong and noisy Chinese following on Rod Laver Arena, Zhang fought back winning the next two sets to post a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 victory, reports Xinhua. Zhang, who before this year’s Australian Open had lost all 14 of her previous first-round matches in Grand Slam events, incredibly now finds herself in the last eight of the tournament.

She will meet Britain’s Johanna Konta, another unseeded player, for a chance to feature in the final four. Zhang, who became the last player in the women’s draw to book a place in quarter-finals, said she found it very difficult to finish off Keys, who played through tears of pain in the final set after suffering a leg injury. “It’s so tough to play against someone (injured) because … I saw her feel more pain,” Zhang told reporters on Monday night.

“Maybe [for] two points you’re feeling like [they] cannot play, and then next three balls, pong, pong, pong, make two aces [and] one winner. So, so tough. You don’t know what’s [going to] happen.” Zhang, who last week revealed she considered retirement at the back-end of a disheartening 2015 campaign, said she was no longer feeling any pressure, despite only being three wins away from winning a fairytale first Grand Slam. “[I’m feeling] Less pressure because I think the big pressure [came in the] first round. I’m so lucky [to] play against the second seed [Simona Halep]. So for me no more pressure,” she said.