Yan Zi (tennis)

Yan Zi (Chinese: 晏紫; pinyin: Yàn Zǐ; Mandarin pronunciation: [jɛ̂n tsì]; born 12 November 1984) is a retired Chinese-born Hong Kong tennis player.

Yàn Zī
Country (sports) China (2000–2014)
 Hong Kong (2014–2016)
ResidenceHong Kong
Born (1984-11-12) 12 November 1984
Chengdu, Sichuan
Height1.71 m (5 ft 7 in)
Turned proFebruary 2003
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed both sides)
Prize money$1,977,871
Career record199–160
Career titles1 WTA, 0 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 40 (5 May 2008)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open2R (2006)
French Open1R (2006, 2008)
Wimbledon1R (2006, 2007, 2008)
US Open1R (2006, 2007, 2008)
Career record375–179
Career titles17 WTA, 16 ITF
Highest rankingNo. 4 (10 July 2006)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenW (2006)
French OpenSF (2006)
WimbledonW (2006)
US OpenQF (2005, 2006, 2008)
Other doubles tournaments
Olympic Games Bronze medal (2008)

Career summary

In 2005, at the age of 20, Yan Zi won her only WTA Tour singles title at the Guangzhou Tier III tournament.[1]

In singles, she first reached the world top 100 in January 2006, achieving a then career-high of world No. 72 that March before failing to defend her breakthrough run of results the previous year and dropping back outside the top 100 that October. Her ranking had slumped to 262 by February 2007 after a year of disappointing results, but her results then picked up again over the rest of 2007; and she regained the top 100 for the first time in ten months after a spectacular run at the Tier I Rogers Cup in August, reaching the semifinals before finally being defeated by world No. 1 Justine Henin, 6–3, 6–0.[2]

In doubles, her highest ranking is No. 4; she won two Grand Slam titles partnering with Zheng Jie. While she has been good at doubles, her singles performance has been inconsistent as her form fluctuates. She has winning records against top 10 stars Jelena Janković 2–0, Ana Ivanovic 1–0, and Marion Bartoli 1–0.

In 2014, Yan received Hong Kong citizenship. In April 2016, she became captain of the Hong Kong Fed Cup team. She announced her retirement that year.

Singles career in detail


Until January 2002, Yan met with mixed results as a singles player in the lower reaches of the ITF tournament hierarchy. But that month, she reached the final of a $10k event at Hull, losing to Liu Nannan. In May, she avenged this defeat with a win over Liu in the first round of a $50k tournament at Fukuoka; and again in August she defeated Liu, this time in the quarterfinal of a $25k tournament at Beijing, only to lose to Rika Fujiwara in the semifinal. In September, she qualified for the WTA Tour contest at Shanghai, only to lose in the first round. But she had reached numerous ITF quarterfinals during the year, and finished it ranked for the first time inside the world top 300, at No. 299.

In February 2003, she narrowly failed to qualify at Hyderabad, losing to Maria Kirilenko in a tight three-set match in the final round of qualifying. She put in her career-best performance to date at Fukuoka, reaching the semifinal with wins over Rika Fujiwara and countrywoman Sun Tiantian, before losing to Saori Obata despite winning more games, the scoreline standing at 6–2, 6–7, 5–7. In July, she qualified for a WTA event at Palermo by defeating Zheng Jie and Ivana Abramović, then fell in the main-draw first round to Italian rising star Francesca Schiavone in another three-setter in which she won more games than her victorious opponent, the scoreline this time being 6–0, 4–6, 3–6. These defeats suggest that she quickly runs out of steam after giving it all in the first set, thereby allowing her opponent to regroup and eventually pocket the contest. The same week, she defeated countrywoman Sun Tiantian to qualify for a $50k tournament at Modena, and in the main draw ousted Yulia Beygelzimer and Adriana Serra Zanetti en route to a quarterfinal loss. In September, she qualified for another WTA event, the Japan Open, and defeated Ashley Harkleroad in round two before losing, on this occasion, to Zheng Jie in the quarterfinals. In December, she reached the semifinal of a $50k tournament for the second time in the year, beating Tzipora Obziler in the quarterfinal at Changsha before losing to another of her prominent countrywomen, Peng Shuai. The following week, she narrowly lost in the quarterfinal of the $50k contest at Shenzhen to future star Sesil Karatantcheva, 6–3, 1–6, 4–6. The year had brought great improvement to Yan's singles results, and her year-end ranking correspondingly improved to 179.


Unfortunately, 2004 set back her progress slightly. The year began poorly for her with a string of early losses, although she was ambitiously targeting only WTA events now, raising the bar on the required standard for successful competition. She failed to win a first-round main draw match the entire year, meeting only with moderate success in qualifying rounds; and ultimately the only relief she could find towards salvaging her world ranking was a retreat to ITF events late in the year. She reached the semifinal of a $25k tournament at Beijing in September (losing again to Zheng Jie), and the same stage at Shenzhen (where she shocked by Li Na in the quarterfinals, then lost yet again to Zheng). This late flourish of results was enough to limp her home to a year-end ranking of 248.


In January, 2005, Yan battled her way past three high-quality opponents, Julia Schruff, Shikha Uberoi and Melinda Czink, to qualify for Tennis Gold Coast, an important WTA event, where she was removed by Tatiana Golovin of France. Then in May, she managed to beat Uberoi again after qualifying for Rabat with a win over Sun Tiantian, only to lose to Arantxa Parra Santonja in the second round. Then in June, she surpassed her previous career-best result, reaching the final of a $50k tournament at Beijing with wins over Sun and Zheng, but lost in the final to less-feted countrywoman Li Ting. The following month, as a direct entrant to the WTA event at Modena, she defeated the much higher-ranked Marta Domachowska of Poland before losing a close three-setter to Sanda Mamić. In September, she avenged her defeat by Li Ting to qualify for Bali, only to succumb to her former doubles partner Li Na in round two of the main draw.

On September 26, she began competing in the WTA event at Guangzhou, this year up-rated to Tier III status, and shocked herself by proceeding to win the entire tournament, having previously failed to win even one ITF singles title, and having only once reached the quarter-final stage at any WTA Tour event. To achieve this astonishing outcome, she had to produce some of her best tennis to conquer defending champion Li Na in the quarterfinal, which she finally won 6–7, 7–5, 7–6 after an intense battle. The other matches against worthy opposition looked easy by comparison, as she crushed Marta Domachowska for the loss of just three games in round two, fought past impressive emerging teen star Victoria Azarenka 6–4, 6–3 in the semifinal, and was up 6–4, 4–0 against Nuria Llagostera Vives in the final when the Spaniard conceded victory.[1]

A semifinal result in November's $50k Shenzhen tournament capped off what had proved to be a superlative year for Yan, leaving her world-ranked 104, within the direct-entry threshold of Grand Slam events and minor WTA tournaments, and within the qualifying-entry threshold of even the more exclusive WTA fixtures.


She began 2006 by narrowly failing to qualify for Tennis Gold Coast, despite wins over Vania King and Shikha Uberoi, as Angela Haynes defeated her in three sets. But she succeeded in qualifying for Sydney with stunning straight-sets victories over Eva Birnerová, Denisa Chládková and Anastasia Yakimova, and beat the high-ranked Russian Anna Chakvetadze 6–3, 6–3 in the main draw first round before losing a three-set match to Francesca Schiavone, who had to struggle through a nail-bitingly close second-set tiebreak to avoid a straight sets loss to Yan, only to win the final set by a more comfortable margin.

As if these scores were not enough to prove her capability to the wider world, at the Australian Open she knocked out former No. 15 and the previous year's semifinalist, Nathalie Dechy of France, in the first round, she then defeated unseeded Aleksandra Wozniak 6–3, 6–4, before suffering to former No. 19 Sybille Bammer. February brought more disappointing results in singles for Yan, as she lost a three-setter to Emma Laine of Finland at Pattaya, and failed to qualify for Doha and Dubai. But still, her January results and some points picked up in qualifying rounds in February had improved her world ranking to No. 66, just one place behind Li Na.


At the second round of the Canada Masters in Toronto, she upset world No. 4 Ana Ivanovic with a score of 6–3, 6–1 in just over an hour, even as Ivanovic had a rare off day. She then beat Eleni Daniilidou in the third round and 2007's Wimbledon's finalist Marion Bartoli (who retired while trailing 2–6, 0–3) in the quarterfinals. Yan's run was ended in the semifinals by world No. 1, Justine Henin, who showed the door through a straight sets 6–3, 6–0 win over her.[2]


Yan started 2008 poorly, with a first-round loss at the Australian Open to eventual quarterfinalist Venus Williams. However, at the Bangalore Open she upset Maria Kirilenko saving three match points. Afterwards she managed to upset Jelena Janković in a quarterfinal, winning 6–3, 3–6, 6–3, however Janković did struggle with a shoulder injury. She eventually lost to runner-up Patty Schnyder 3–6, 4–6 and made her top 50 debut afterwards at No. 43.

At the Summer Olympics, Yan and her partner Zheng Jie won the women's doubles bronze medal, defeating the Ukrainian duo of Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko in the bronze medal match.


In January, Yan played qualifying singles, women's doubles, and mixed doubles at the Australian Open. In qualifying singles, she was seeded eighth but lost to unseeded Alexandra Panova of Russia, 6–7, 6–2, 7–9 in the qualifying second round. In women's doubles, she partnered with Zheng Jie and was seeded sixth and lost in the third round. In mixed doubles, she partnered with Mark Knowles of the Bahamas and was seeded second and lost in the second round. Because of playing doubles extensively her singles ranking has dropped to where it is hard for her to get into events. She has started playing doubles with Chuang Chia-jung, now because she wants to get out of Zheng's shadow. The choice was more so, though, because she wants to improve her singles ranking.


Doubles: 1 bronze medal match (1–0)

Outcome Year Championship Surface Partner Opponents Score
Bronze2008Beijing OlympicsHard Zheng Jie Alona Bondarenko
Kateryna Bondarenko
6–2, 6–2

WTA career finals

Singles: 1 title

Winner - Legend
Grand Slam tournaments (0–0)
WTA Championships (0–0)
Tier I (0–0)
Tier II (0–0)
Tier III (1–0)
Tier IV & V (0–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Opponent Score
Winner 1. September 26, 2005 Guangzhou, China Hard Nuria Llagostera Vives 6–4, 4–0 ret.

Doubles: 17 titles, 11 runner-ups

Legend: Before 2009Legend: Starting in 2009
Grand Slam tournaments (2–0)
WTA Championships (0–0)
Tier I (2–1) Premier Mandatory (0–0)
Tier II (2–2) Premier 5 (0–0)
Tier III (6–4) Premier (1–2)
Tier IV & V (3–2) International (1–0)
Outcome No. Date Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Runner-up 1. June 14, 2003 Vienna, Austria Clay Zheng Jie Li Ting
Sun Tiantian
3–6, 4–6
Winner 1. January 14, 2005 Hobart, Australia Hard Zheng Jie Anabel Medina Garrigues
Dinara Safina
6–4, 7–5
Winner 2. February 12, 2005 Hyderabad, India Hard Zheng Jie Li Ting
Sun Tiantian
6–4, 6–1
Runner-up 2. September 13, 2005 Bali, Indonesia Hard Zheng Jie Anna-Lena Grönefeld
Meghann Shaughnessy
3–6, 3–6
Runner-up 3. September 25, 2005 Beijing, China Hard Zheng Jie María Vento-Kabchi
Nuria Llagostera Vives
2–6, 4–6
Winner 3. January 28, 2006 Melbourne, Australia Hard Zheng Jie Lisa Raymond
Samantha Stosur
2–6, 7–6(9–7), 6–3
Runner-up 4. February 12, 2006 Pattaya, Thailand Hard Zheng Jie Li Ting
Sun Tiantian
6–3, 1–6, 6–7(5–7)
Winner 4. May 14, 2006 Berlin, Germany Clay Zheng Jie Elena Dementieva
Flavia Pennetta
6–2, 6–3
Winner 5. May 21, 2006 Rabat, Morocco Clay Zheng Jie Ashley Harkleroad
Bethanie Mattek
6–1, 6–3
Winner 6. June 24, 2006 s'Hertogenbosch, Netherlands Grass Zheng Jie Ana Ivanovic
Maria Kirilenko
3–6, 6–2, 6–2
Winner 7. July 8, 2006 Wimbledon Grass Zheng Jie Virginia Ruano Pascual
Paola Suárez
6–3, 3–6, 6–2
Runner-up 5. July 26, 2006 Stockholm, Sweden Hard Zheng Jie Eva Birnerová
Jarmila Gajdošová
6–0, 4–6, 2–6
Winner 8. August 26, 2006 New Haven, United States Hard Zheng Jie Lisa Raymond
Samantha Stosur
6–4, 6–2
Winner 9. April 15, 2007 Charleston, United States Clay Zheng Jie Peng Shuai
Sun Tiantian
7–5, 6–0
Winner 10. May 26, 2007 Strasbourg, France Clay Zheng Jie Alicia Molik
Sun Tiantian
6–3, 6–4
Winner 11. September 30, 2007 Guangzhou, China Hard Peng Shuai Vania King
Sun Tiantian
6–3, 6–4
Winner 12. October 7, 2007 Tokyo, Japan Hard Sun Tiantian Chuang Chia-jung
Vania King
1–6, 6–2, [10–6]
Winner 13. October 14, 2007 Bangkok, Thailand Hard Sun Tiantian Ayumi Morita
Junri Namigata
Runner-up 6. January 5, 2008 Gold Coast, Australia Hard Zheng Jie Dinara Safina
Ágnes Szávay
1–6, 2–6
Winner 14. January 11, 2008 Sydney, Australia Hard Zheng Jie Tatiana Perebiynis
Tatiana Poutchek
6–4, 7–6(7–5)
Runner-up 7. March 1, 2008 Dubai, United Arab Emirates Hard Zheng Jie Cara Black
Liezel Huber
5–7, 2–6
Runner-up 8. March 22, 2008 Indian Wells, United States Hard Zheng Jie Dinara Safina
Elena Vesnina
1–6, 6–1, [8–10]
Winner 15. May 24, 2008 Strasbourg, France Clay Tatiana Perebiynis Chan Yung-jan
Chuang Chia-jung
6–4, 6–7(3–7), [10–6]
Runner-up 9. September 21, 2008 Guangzhou, China Hard Sun Tiantian Mariya Koryttseva
Tatiana Poutchek
6–3, 2–6, [8–10]
Runner-up 10. May 23, 2009 Warsaw, Poland Clay Zheng Jie Raquel Kops-Jones
Bethanie Mattek-Sands
1–6, 1–6
Winner 16. August 9, 2009 Los Angeles, United States Hard Chuang Chia-jung Maria Kirilenko
Agnieszka Radwańska
6–0, 4–6, [10–7]
Winner 17. April 11, 2010 Ponte Vedra, United States Clay Bethanie Mattek-Sands Chuang Chia-jung
Peng Shuai
4–6, 6–4, [10–8]
Runner-up 11. May 17, 2010 Warsaw, Poland Clay Cara Black Virginia Ruano Pascual
Meghann Shaughnessy
3–6, 4–6

Performance timelines

Singles performance timeline

(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (A) absent; (Z#) Davis/Fed Cup Zonal Group (with number indication) or (PO) play-off; (G) gold, (F-S) silver or (SF-B) bronze Olympic medal; a (NMS) downgraded Masters Series/1000 tournament; (NH) not held. SR=strike rate (events won/competed)
To avoid confusion and double counting, these charts are updated at the conclusion of a tournament or when the player's participation has ended.
Tournament200320042005200620072008Win ratioCareer W–L
Grand Slam tournaments
Australian Open A LQ A 2R LQ 1R 0 / 4 1–4
French Open A A A 1R A 1R 0 / 1 0–1
Wimbledon A LQ A 1R 1R 1R 0 / 3 3–3
US Open LQ A LQ 1R 1R 1R 0 / 4 5–4
Grand Slam win ratio 0 / 1 0 / 2 0 / 1 0 / 4 0 / 3 0 / 1 0 / 12 N/A
Grand Slam win–loss 0–1 2–2 1–1 1–4 7–3 0–1 N/A 11–12
Olympic Games
Summer Olympics NH A NH NH NH 0 / 0 0–0
Tier I tournaments
Doha1 Not Tier I 2R 0 / 1 1–1
Indian Wells A A A 1R A 2R 0 / 2 1–2
Miami A 1R A 1R A A 0 / 2 0–2
Charleston A LQ A A A A 0 / 1 0–1
Berlin A 1R A LQ 2R 2R 0 / 4 6–4
Rome A A A A 2R 1R 0 / 2 3–2
Toronto/Montréal A A A A SF A 0 / 1 6–1
Tokyo A LQ A A LQ A 0 / 2 4–2
Moscow A A A A A A 0 / 0 0–0
Previous Tier I tournaments
San Diego1 NTI A A A A NH 0 / 0 0–0
Zürich1 A A A LQ A NTI 0 / 1 0–1

Grand Slam doubles performance timeline

Australian Open A QF 1R W SF SF 3R QF 2R A 1R 23–8
French Open A 1R 3R SF 1R 3R QF 3R A A A 13–7
Wimbledon A 3R A W QF 3R 3R 2R A A 1R 16–6
US Open 1R 2R QF QF 2R QF QF 2R A A A 15–8
Win–Loss 0–1 6–4 5–3 19–2 8–4 11–4 10–4 7–4 1–1 0–0 0–2 67–29


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