Chinese qualifier Shuai Zhang has recorded a scarcely-believable win over second seed Simona Halep at the Australian Open.
On a day of many upsets, Zhang delivered the first major shock of the women’s draw when she crushed Halep 6-4 6-3 on Tuesday night.
Zhang is ranked 133rd in the world and had lost all 14 of her previous grand slam matches.
Yet the 26-year-old sent Halep packing with remarkable ease on Margaret Court Arena.
Zhang saved nine of 12 break points she faced in the contest, which lasted an hour and 18 minutes.
She next faces Frenchwoman Alize Cornet.
Halep was booted from Melbourne Park in the first round of the 2012 and 2013 tournaments.
However, the Romanian progressed to the quarter-finals in the 2014 and 2015 Australian Opens.
Halep dealt with an achilles injury and the flu in the lead-up to her sixth Open campaign but had been considered one of the leading contenders.
“The tournament is open. Everyone has a chance to win this title,” Halep said on the eve of the tournament.
“I feel good. I feel confident.
“But you never know. I just have to go on court and stay my chances every time.”