Jie Zheng looks as though she could be a dangerous player at the 2012 Australian Open. The Chinese star is through the first two rounds of the Grand Slam, having not lost a set and she has not yet even faced much of a challenge.
On Day 4 from Melbourne Park, Zheng eliminated Roberta Vinci 6-4, 6-2 to advance to the third round. Zheng now awaits the winner between Marion Bartoli and Australian hopeful Jelena Dokic.
Zheng has done damage in Grand Slam draws before. She made the semifinals of Wimbledon in 2008, and she also made the semifinals at Melbourne Park in 2010, the last time she was able to participate in the Australian Open.
Zheng is unquestionably on-form right now, and it's not just because she has cruised through two matches at Melbourne Park in straight sets. Zheng won the WTA Auckland title earlier this month with five wins, including one over Svetlana Kuznetsova.
It has been a while since Zheng has faced the very best competition on tour on a regular basis, as she struggled in 2011 with a wrist injury that contributed to a ranking dip.
She is currently in the top 40, she's capable of defeating players in the Top 10, and her draw to the quarters is reasonable. With Bartoli as the most proven player in Zheng's section prior to the quarters, the Chinese star could book a spot in Melbourne Park's final eight.
Zheng could face Petra Kvitova in the Melbourne Park quarterfinals. If the Czech's lackluster win in the second round against Carla Suarez Navarro is a sign of things to come from the Wimbledon champ, a spot in the semifinal may be up for grabs for Zheng.