Chinese qualifier Yuxuan Zhang put in a sterling performance to defeat No.2 seed and compatriot Qiang Wang of China in the women's final of the Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off.
The 6-4 6-2 win in one hour and 40 minutes at the Nanjing Sports Institute in China guarantees the 18-year-old a main draw berth at Australian Open 2013.
In a tight first set, where both players struggled with nerves, Zhang held serve in the ninth game and that was all she needed to seize the first set 6-4.
Both players held serve for the first four games of the second set until Zhang proved too strong, winning the final four games to take out the set, and the match.
“I am very excited [that] I can get into the Australian Open main draw to Australia,” Zhang said.
“I hope I can play well there. Today is a really tough match and Wang is a good player so I am very happy. I play better and better this year so I hope I can [continue to] get better.”
Zhang’s remarkable year has seen her jump almost 800 places in the world rankings since January.
She has built a win-loss record of 22-10 in 2012 – playing exclusively on the ITF circuit – and is currently ranked No.417 in the world.
She won six matches during the wildcard play-off event alone, moving through qualifying and defeating top seed Kai-Chen Chang of Chinese Taipei on her way to the final.