Chinese tennis hopes for an Olympic medal in traditionally strong women doubles were not met in Rio as the tandem of former World #1 Peng Shuai and new partner Zhang Shuai could not advance out of the second round dropping a 4-6 &4-6 loss to Czech Republic. Chna’s #2 Olympic doubles team of Zheng Sai Sai& Xu Yifan suffered a similar fate to Italy 2-6 & 3-6.
China was hoping to catch lightning in a bottle fielding a threesome of three rising WTA players in World #50 Zhang Shuai, World #63 Zheng Sai& Sai& World #65 Wang Qiang along with an injury-plagued former WTA star Peng Shuai. While there would be no medaling this year both Zhang and Zheng earned first round victories before Zhang fell to Russia 2-6 & 4-6 while Zheng bowed out 2-6 & 4-6 to Germany.
Although Wang Qiang could not get out of the first round she certainly left a strong impression on Russia and the world coming back from a tough 1-6 first set to charge back 6-4 to square the match at 1-1. Unfortunately Russia put an abrupt end to Wang’s Olympic run 0-6 in the third to take the match 2-1. In what could be Peng Shuai’s swan song to Olympic competition, the Tianjin native suffered her own first set woes against Great Britain going down 4-6. Digging deep into her championship experience Peng battled through fierce resistance emerging with a match leveling 7-6 (5) second set win. The fairy tale ending was not to be as Peng ran out of gas dropping the match-determining set 3-6.