PARIS, May 31 (Xinhua) -- China's 19th seed Zheng Qinwen lost to Kazakhstan's Yulia Putintseva in a grueling three-set match during the women's singles second round of the French Open on Wednesday.
Putintseva, a two-time quarterfinalist at Roland Garros in 2016 and 2018, seized four consecutive games in the decisive set after a 2-2 tie, clinching the victory 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.
A staggering 49 unforced errors, compared to her opponent's 19, scuppered Zheng's hopes of progressing at the clay major. Last year, she stormed into the round of 16 in her debut.
"Too many errors today, especially in the first set. I made it too easy for her," admitted Zheng, who came to Paris after a quarterfinal appearance in Rome. That success pushed her ranking to a career-high 19th, also the current top singles player from China.
"She combined good long shots and drop shots, with which I was struggled and the court was small., so I didn't get enough space behind to move back to hit the ball," the 20-year-old added.
Zheng, who broke into the top 100 in January 2022 after a run through qualifying to the second round at the Australian Open, has participated in six Grand Slam tournaments, reaching at least the second round in each.
Her stunning career took off at last year's French Open, breaking into the top 30 after advancing to the final in Tokyo and securing the WTA Newcomer of the Year prize.
"I think the promotion in ranking is far away from I expected. I still think I could do much more better. Talking about the match today, I think I should have won, but I didn't, which hurt me a lot," Zheng confessed.
Next in line for Putintseva is Sloane Stephens of the United States, the former US Open winner who eased into the last 32 with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over world No. 56 Anna Blinkova of Russia in just an hour and 13 minutes.
Zheng's compatriot Zhang Zhizhen, who made history on Monday by becoming the first men's player from the Chinese mainland in the Open era to win a match at the clay-court Grand Slam, couldn't carry his victorious momentum into the doubles competition.
The 26-year-old, partnered with Romanian Victor Vlad Cornea, was defeated by Germany's 11th seed Tim Puetz and Kevin Krawietz, 7-5, 6-4 in the men's doubles first round.
In other matches, home favorite Caroline Garcia, seeded fifth, was upset by world No. 56 Anna Blinkova of Russia, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5. American world No. 3 Jessica Pegula advanced when Camila Giorgi of Italy retired after losing the opening set.