Peng Shuai

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Peng Shuai
彭帅
Peng WMQ19 (28).jpg
Country (sports) China
ResidenceTianjin and Beijing, China
Born (1986-01-08) 8 January 1986 (age 36)
Xiangtan, Hunan
Height1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)
Turned pro2001
PlaysRight-handed (two-handed both sides)
CoachCarlos Rodríguez
Prize moneyUS$ 9,617,653
Singles
Career record497–323 (60.6%)
Career titles2
Highest rankingNo. 14 (22 August 2011)
Current rankingNo. 307 (22 November 2021)
Grand Slam Singles results
Australian Open4R (2011, 2015)
French Open3R (2011, 2012)
Wimbledon4R (2011, 2012, 2014)
US OpenSF (2014)
Doubles
Career record341–203 (62.7%)
Career titles23
Highest rankingNo. 1 (17 February 2014)
Current rankingNo. 192 (22 November 2021)
Grand Slam Doubles results
Australian OpenF (2017)
French OpenW (2014)
WimbledonW (2013)
US OpenSF (2017)
Other doubles tournaments
Tour FinalsW (2013)
Team competitions
Fed Cup17–9 (65.4%)
Last updated on: 22 November 2021.
Peng Shuai
Traditional Chinese彭帥
Simplified Chinese彭帅

Peng Shuai (Chinese: 彭帅; born 8 January 1986) is a Chinese professional tennis player. In February 2014, she was ranked world No. 1 doubles player by the WTA, becoming the first Chinese tennis player to achieve that ranking (in either singles or doubles).[1] She peaked at No. 14 of the singles rankings in August 2011. She has won two singles and 22 doubles titles in international tournaments.

Peng won a gold medal at the 2010 Asian Games, defeating Akgul Amanmuradova in the final. At the 2013 Wimbledon Championships, Peng won her first ladies' doubles championship with Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and again won at the 2014 French Open with Hsieh. Her best performance at a Grand Slam tournament in singles came at the 2014 US Open when she reached the semifinals, becoming the third Chinese tennis player in history to make a major semifinal after Zheng Jie and Li Na.

Peng is known for playing with two hands on both sides and hits very flat. She has defeated many top-10 and top-5 players, including Kim Clijsters, Martina Hingis, Amélie Mauresmo, Anastasia Myskina, Elena Dementieva, Francesca Schiavone, Jelena Janković, Agnieszka Radwańska, Marion Bartoli, and Vera Zvonareva.

On November 2, 2021, Peng posted on Weibo accusing Zhang Gaoli of coercing her into sex three years ago when he retired from the CCP PSC and vice-premiership of China, now that their extramarital affair was ending.[2] Information about her story was quickly censored by the Chinese government.[3][4] Afterwards, Peng disappeared from public view, showing up in state media two weeks later for several potentially staged appearances. In an e-mail and a December interview video from Lianhe Zaobao, she apparently denied having accused anyone of sexually assaulting her. The incident elicited lingering international concern over her safety, whereabouts, and ability to communicate freely.

Career[edit]

Early life[edit]

Peng Shuai was born in Xiangtan.[5] She began playing at age eight when an uncle, a famous tennis coach in China and the only other family member who plays tennis, introduced her to the game.[6] She favors hardcourts and her two-handed forehand (though her backhand is the better side). Her father Peng Jijun is a police officer and her mother is Zhang Bing.[citation needed] At age 13, Peng was admitted to a hospital for heart surgery to repair a defect,[7] a situation which she explained in the 2008 "Impossible is Nothing" campaign from Adidas.[5] Following surgery, in 1999 she joined the state training program in she in Tianjin, aimed at producing internationally competitive athletes, especially Olympians.[5]

2001–2004[edit]

In 2001, at the beginning of June, aged just 15 years and four months, she won her first singles title at Baotou, a $10k tournament, after entering as a wildcard, and defeating countrywoman Sun Tiantian 6–1, 6–4 in the semifinal. In July, she won her second ITF tournament of the year (although she was assisted in the final by the retirement of her opponent Liu Nannan after just one game was played, and in the following week's tournament she lost to Liu in the semifinal).[8] Then in October, she debuted on the WTA Tour at Shanghai as a wildcard, losing in the first round to Tamarine Tanasugarn.[8]

In February 2002, Peng won her third $10k singles title in the space of nine months at Mumbai, defeating Indian Sunitha Rao in the final.[8] The following week, she extended her match-winning streak to twelve by coming through qualifying to reach the final of a $25k tournament at New Delhi, with wins over Japanese Aiko Nakamura and Austrian Sybille Bammer, before losing in the championship match to Eva Birnerová.[8] In July, she succeeded in qualifying for the main draw of a $50k tournament at Lexington; but further success proved elusive, and after a second successive first-round main draw defeat in early August she took nearly seven months off from competition at singles events, ending the year with a world ranking of 358.[8]

It was not until April 2003 that Peng next won a match; but then she proceeded to put in her career-best performance, coming through qualifying to win her first $25k title at Jackson, Mississippi, with match wins against Rika Fujiwara, Tatiana Golovin and Christina Wheeler among others.[8] After disappointing summer results, she started to play more consistently again towards the end of the year; and in December, she won her first $50k event, and the fifth ITF title of her young career, at Changsha, with victories over Yuka Yoshida, Yan Zi and Zheng Jie, salvaging her year-end ranking, which had improved to 226, and heralding her coming breakthrough the following year.[8]

In February 2004, she reached her third $25k singles event final at Columbus, Ohio, only to be defeated by Czech Nicole Vaidišová in the final 7–6, 7–5.[8] The following month, she qualified for another $50k event, at Orange, California, with wins over Neha Uberoi and Mashona Washington, then defeated Colombian Catalina Castaño and Camille Pin to reach the main-draw quarterfinal, before losing in three sets to Ukrainian Yuliya Beygelzimer.[8] Among further consistent results in ITF tournaments, she was victorious in what was the first ever $75k tournament she had entered, defeating Angela Haynes, Yuka Yoshida and Evgenia Linetskaya in straight sets at Dothan, Alabama to take her sixth career ITF singles title.[8] A month later, after being knocked out in the third round of French Open qualifying, she won her second $75k event, defeating Lucie Šafářová and Barbora Strýcová en route to a comfortable final victory over Zuzana Ondrášková in Prostejov in Czech Republic.[8]

By this time, her results had pushed her up to No. 107 in the rankings, so she gained direct entry into her first Grand Slam main draw at Wimbledon, but was defeated in straight sets by 14th seed Silvia Farina Elia.[8] At the US Open, she was eliminated in the first round of qualifying in three sets to Australian Anastasia Rodionova.[8] But the emerging Chinese star persisted in trying her hand at other WTA Tour events, and worked her way to considerable success at Cincinnati in August, defeating some high-class opponents in Stéphanie Foretz, Jill Craybas and Alina Jidkova to reach her first WTA Tour quarterfinal, before losing to second seed Vera Zvonareva.[8] A second quarterfinal performance followed at Guangzhou in September, after she defeated French fourth seed Marion Bartoli for the loss of just one game in round two, only to be ousted in turn herself by countrywoman Li Ting.[8]

The year ended on a further high note for Peng, as she won her second $50k title and eighth overall career ITF singles title in November (Shenzhen 2), with impressive victories over her countrywomen Sun Tiantian and Zheng Jie. (She had also reached the Shenzhen-1 semifinal the previous week, only to lose to recent Guangzhou champion Li Na.) She ended the year world-ranked 73. Thereafter, she was able to bid the ITF events adieu, focussing solely on WTA events.[8]

2005–2007[edit]

In 2005, Peng broke away from the Chinese state training program, Tianjin Tennis Team, which took more than half her earnings, to instead “fly solo”.[5] She and three other players won their independence from the program by threatening that they would otherwise stop playing entirely.[5]

In January 2005, Peng won all three qualifying matches at Sydney in straight sets, and went on to reach her first WTA Tour semifinal. On the way, she upset the No. 2 seed Anastasia Myskina in the second round in straight sets,[8] in addition to defeating Camille Pin, Tzipora Obziler, Denisa Chládková and Mashona Washington, all without dropping a set. In the quarterfinal, she was up 6–3, 4–2 against Russian fifth seed Nadia Petrova, and well on target for another shock straight-sets victory, when Petrova retired.[8] Australian sixth seed Alicia Molik defeated Peng in the semifinal, whose run lifted her ranking from 80 to 48.[8] The following week, at the Australian Open, Peng won her first Grand Slam singles match, defeating Maria Elena Camerin 6–1, 6–2, before being overcome by Venus Williams in round two.[8]

An ankle injury in February made her miss several tournaments in February and March.[citation needed] On her return to competition in April, she lost two successive second-round matches to top-ten players Vera Zvonareva and Justine Henin-Hardenne, each match running to three close sets.[8] At Strasbourg in May, she reached another WTA quarterfinal, with wins over Tamarine Tanasugarn and young French talent Tatiana Golovin, before losing in three sets to Marta Domachowska. At the French Open, she also took top seed Lindsay Davenport into a deciding set in their second-round match.[8]

In August, she topped all her previous achievements by reaching her first Tier-I semifinal at San Diego, posting upsets over then world No. 6, Elena Dementieva, world No. 26, Dinara Safina, and world No. 10, Kim Clijsters, all in straight sets.[8] Her victory over Clijsters, who was on her way back to being world No. 1 after only a few months back on the tour following injury, ended the Belgian's 26–consecutive-match-winning streak on hardcourts.[citation needed] Following the match, Clijsters told reporters that Peng had the potential to become a top-3 tennis player.[citation needed] Although an inspired Mary Pierce had her way in the semifinal, Peng's performance in this tournament helped her to her career-best singles ranking (31st) on 15 August 2005,[8] which was also the highest ever singles ranking achieved by any Chinese women's tennis player, improving on the standard set by Li Na, who peaked at 33 earlier the same year (though she may yet ascend to new heights).[citation needed]

By September 2005, Peng ranked among the top 5 female tennis players across the whole Asian continent.[citation needed] That month, she reached two further WTA quarterfinals, at Beijing and (for the second year running) Guangzhou, where she retired in her quarterfinal match against Belarusian Victoria Azarenka after losing the first set.[8] This proved to be her last match of the year; and without being able to defend the points won at Shenzhen the previous November, she found her year-end ranking settling to 35.[8]

The year 2006 began disappointingly for Peng. She lost her first-round ties at Sydney and the Australian Open, then withdrew from subsequent tournaments, dropping out of the top 60 after losing in the first and second rounds respectively at Indian Wells and Miami.[8] During the European spring, she reached the semifinals of a Tier-IV tournament in Prague, and final in a Tier-III tournament in Strasbourg, third round showing at Wimbledon (including a victory over a top-20 player in Shahar Pe'er), but had to retire while trailing by a set in the second round of the French Open against Karolina Sprem.[8] At Wimbledon, she reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time, defeating 20th seed Shahar Peer before losing to 16th seed Flavia Pennetta. However these results were enough to lift her into the Top 40 for the first time.[8] However, during the American summer hardcourt leg of the tour, she only won one match and was knocked out of the US Open by eighth seed Martina Hingis in the first round.[8] She reached the semifinals of the China Open and represented her country for the first time in her Fed Cup career, winning both her ties against Indonesia.[8]

2007 was slightly more successful for Peng than her previous year as she finished ranked within the world's top 50.[9] Peng began her year by qualifying for the Sydney tournament and reaching the second round of the Australian Open for the second time, losing to top-ten player Patty Schnyder 7–5, 6–3.[8]

Peng Shuai at the 2007 Australian Open

In early February, she reached the semifinals of the Tier-III Pattaya Open, losing to Sybille Bammer, she also lost to Bammer in the third round of her next event in Indian Wells.[8] Peng reached the third round of Tier-I events in Toronto, Berlin, Indian Wells and Charleston recording a win over the previous year's finalist Patty Schnyder.[8] Peng was forced to retire in the deciding set of a third-round match in Berlin against world No. 6, Jelena Janković,[8] and returned to competitive play at Wimbledon two months lata, losing in straight sets in the first round to qualifier Hana Šromová. She once again failed to get past the first round of the US Open, losing in three sets to a resurgent Flavia Pennetta.[8]

At the China Open, Peng beat former world No. 1 and five-time Grand Slam champion, Martina Hingis, in the final match of her professional career, winning 7–5, 6–1. She also beat third seed Amélie Mauresmo en route to her second semifinal of the year.[8] In September, Peng suffered a surprising loss in Tier-III Guangzhou to Tzipora Obziler and in the qualification tournament for Luxembourg to former top-ten player Alicia Molik. She qualified to the main draw of Zurich before losing in three sets to Marion Bartoli.[8]

Peng finished the year with a 26–21 record in singles, a doubles title in Guangzhou with Yan Zi and one top-ten win (against Mauresmo).[8]

2008–2010[edit]

On 4 January 2008, Peng, ranked No. 45,[8] beat top-seed Ana Ivanovic in the semifinals of the silver group (a competition among all first matches losers) of an exhibition tournament in Hong Kong.[citation needed]

This form was not to last as she then failed to win a match in her next five tournaments, including a first round loss at the Australian Open. Peng finally recorded her first win of the year at the Tier-II Bangalore Open against Anne Kremer before losing in three sets to Venus Williams;[8] she also won the doubles title with Sun Tiantian. She then upset 23rd seed Karin Knapp to reach the third round at Indian Wells.[8]

Peng suffered two losses in singles play against Spain in the Fed Cup semifinals, losing to Nuria Llagostera Vives and to Carla Suárez Navarro, both of whom were ranked lower than her. China subsequently lost the tie at home.[8] At Strasbourg, Peng reached her first quarterfinal of the year and recorded a top-ten win when top seed Marion Bartoli was forced to retire in round one while trailing 6–1, 1–0.[8]

At Grand Slam tournament-level, Peng reached the second round in Paris and the third round of Wimbledon for the second time in her career, losing in third round to Alla Kudryavtseva in three sets.[8] She also reached the second round of the US Open for the first time in her career, defeating Eleni Daniilidou in straight sets before losing to Flavia Pennetta in three sets for the second year in a row.[8]

At the Summer Olympics, she competed in the women's singles, and the women's doubles with Sun Tiantian. The doubles pair were knocked out in the first round, and Peng lost to Alizé Cornet in the second round of the singles.[10]

After the US Open her ranking climbed up to No. 40, her highest since Wimbledon 2007. Prior to the US Open, Peng reached her first singles final since Strasbourg 2006 at Tier-IV Forest Hills Tennis Classic, before losing in straight sets to Lucie Šafářová. At the Beijing Olympics, Peng got revenge for her Fed Cup defeat by defeating Suárez Navarro in round one before losing to Alizé Cornet of France.

In early 2009, Peng announced that she will be coached full-time for the 2009 season by Tarik Benhabiles.[11] Peng won the Sydney International doubles title with Hsieh Su-wei, defeating Nathalie Dechy and Casey Dellacqua in the final. Peng defeated 28th seed Francesca Schiavone in the first round of the Australian Open and Bulgarian qualifier Sesil Karatantcheva in the second. She lost to second seed and eventual champion Serena Williams in the third round, in two sets. She played doubles with Hsieh, they made the quarterfinals losing to the Williams sisters in three sets.

At the Italian Open in May, Peng partnered with Hsieh again and won the doubles title as the seventh seed by defeating fifth seeded Daniela Hantuchová and Ai Sugiyama, in two close sets. At the French Open, Peng was seeded 31 but was knocked out in the first round by unseeded clay specialist María José Martínez Sánchez, in three sets. However, in doubles, partnering Hsieh once again, and as the ninth seeds, have made it into the semifinals by defeating seventh-seeded Hantuchová & Sugiyama in the third round, and unseeded Radwańska sisters in the quarterfinals. In the semifinals, they lost to 12th-seeded team of Victoria Azarenka and Elena Vesnina.

At the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, Peng was unseeded and defeated US teenager Alexa Glatch in three sets. She fell to No. 11 Agnieszka Radwańska in the second round, after a mammoth battle of three and a half hours. Despite saving five match points, she eventually lost in three sets. Her 'never say die' attitude won her the admiration of many English fans.

At the US Open, unseeded Peng defeated Jarmila Groth in straight sets. However, in the next round, she lost to eventual semifinalist, Yanina Wickmayer, also unseeded, in three sets after having a one break lead in the third set.

During the China Open, after beating qualifier Yaroslava Shvedova, Peng went on to beat 2008 China Open champion and former world No. 1, Jelena Janković after Janković had picked up a wrist injury in the latter stages of the match. In the third round, Peng came face to face with another former world No. 1, Maria Sharapova, which Peng managed to win in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, she lost to Nadia Petrova, winning the first set 7–6, but then started to feel pains in her leg, losing the next two sets. However, in doubles, Peng partnered with Hsieh and won the title, bringing her ranking to a career high of 13. By her good performance there, her singles ranking rose up to 42 in the world.

Peng began her 2010 world tour with a first-round loss at the Brisbane International to Hungarian Ágnes Szávay. At the Hobart International, Peng defeated Sorana Cîrstea in the first round before she fell to fellow Chinese Zheng Jie. At the Australian Open, Peng was once again drawn against Zheng Jie. She took the first set 6–0 but could not hold the lead, losing the next two sets.

Peng then travelled to the US to compete at the Indian Wells Open. In the first round, she outlasted Ekaterina Makarova, beating her 6–1, 2–6, 6–4. In the second round, she defeated 20th seed Alona Bondarenko before losing to 16th seed Nadia Petrova in the third. Unseeded at the Miami Open, she defeated Vania King in the first round. In the second, Peng faced top seed and world No. 4, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and lost to Kuznetsova. It was the fourth time that she lost in the second round at Miami.

At the Ponte Vedra Beach Championships, Peng was unseeded again and defeated Chang Kai-chen in the first round after being 1–4 down in the first set. In the second round, she was defeated by eighth-seeded American Melanie Oudin. Peng then competed at the Charleston Cup where she defeated Shenay Perry in the opening round and fifth seed Marion Bartoli in the second round. Bartoli retired at 6–2, 6–7, 3–4 to allow Peng to move into the third round, where she defeated tenth seed Elena Vesnina. In the quarterfinals, she was defeated by fourth seed Samantha Stosur despite being up a break 4–2 in the first set.

Seeded seventh at the Estoril Open, Peng eased past Julie Coin to book a second-round encounter with Tatjana Malek, which she also won in straight sets. In the quarterfinals, Peng defeated fourth seed and clay-court specialist Anabel Medina Garrigues in a match lasting three hours. She was defeated by Anastasija Sevastova in the semifinals, in three sets. Peng then received a wildcard into the Premier Mandatory Madrid Open. In the first round, she was 3–0 up against tenth seed Victoria Azarenka before she retired due to a right adductor muscle strain. In the second round, Peng was defeated by fellow double-hander Arantxa Parra Santonja.

Peng at the 2010 US Open

Peng then withdrew from the French Open and missed the whole of the grass-court season due to illness. She entered the Budapest Grand Prix after her long illness break. In the first round, she defeated Silvia Njirić but fell to Sevastova in the second.

In the US Open, Peng advanced to the third round by beating wildcard Shelby Rogers in the first round and ninth seed Agnieszka Radwańska in the second round. Peng withdrew from the tournament before next match with injury, handing Andrea Petkovic a place in the fourth round. She then suffered two first-round exits at the Pan Pacific Open and the China Open. In Tokyo, she lost to Christina McHale in the first round of qualifying. In the first round of Beijing, where she made the quarterfinals in 2009, Peng lost to Sara Errani. This loss caused her to drop to No. 95 in the world.

Unseeded at the Luxembourg Open, Peng drew top-seed and world No. 9, Elena Dementieva, in the first round. Peng played a great match and led 5–1 in the second set, but Dementieva launched a comeback and won 7–5, 7–6. This was Peng's last WTA Tour match of the 2010 season. She continued on the ITF Circuit with a trophy at the $100k event in Taipei, played on carpet. Along the way Peng defeated Bojana Jovanovski in the quarterfinals, Tamarine Tanasugarn in the semifinals and Ayumi Morita in the final.

Peng ended season representing China in the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou, China. She won a gold medal in the team event alongside teammates Li Na, Yan Zi and Zhang Shuai. In the doubles event, she gained a bronze medal with her partner Yan Zi, and in the singles event, she won another gold medal, defeating Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan in two sets.

2011–2012[edit]

Peng in 2011

Peng kicked off her 2011 season at the Auckland Open where she was unseeded and defeated Johanna Larsson in the first round 6–1, 6–3. In the second round, she caused a big upset by defeating No. 3 seed Kuznetsova, after being a double break down 0–3 in the final set. In the quarterfinals, she defeated British qualifier Heather Watson. Despite playing some of her best tennis in the semifinals, Peng lost to defending champion and No. 2 seed, Yanina Wickmayer in 2 hours and 53 minutes. In the first round of the Hobart International, Peng took out No. 3 seed Tsvetana Pironkova in the first round. She then defeated qualifier Olga Govortsova, and No. 7 seed Sara Errani in straight sets to move into her second semifinal of 2011 where she lost to Bethanie Mattek-Sands in three.

At the Australian Open, Peng was unseeded and defeated Kateryna Bondarenko in the first round. She then toppled seventh seed Jelena Janković in the second round. She then moved into the fourth round of a Grand Slam for the first time in her career after a three-set win over Ayumi Morita. In the fourth round, Peng was defeated in a hard-fought match against 12th seed Agnieszka Radwańska, despite having two match points at 5–4 in the final set. After her fourth round performance, her ranking rose to No. 40, making her the second highest-ranked Chinese player after Li Na, since Zheng Jie slipped down the rankings after not being able to defend her semifinal points.

Peng's next tournament was the Pattaya Open. She was seeded sixth and defeated Chan Yung-jan in the first round and in the second round she defeated Elena Baltacha. In the quarterfinals, she was narrowly defeated by top seed Vera Zvonareva despite being up 4–3, 40–15 in the final set. At the Dubai Championships, Peng entered the qualifying draw as the No. 2 seed and defeated wildcard Vanessa Henke in the first round 6–1, 6–0. She then qualified for the main draw with a win over No. 11 seed Kateryna Bondarenko. Peng got her revenge on Mattek-Sands in the first round, defeating her this time in three sets. However, she was defeated by No. 7 seed Azarenka in the second round, in 2 hours and 23 minutes.

Peng qualified for the main draw of the Qatar Open. Seeded No. 3, she defeated Nuria Llagostera Vives, Anastasia Rodionova, and Elena Vesnina. In the first round of the main draw, she defeated Timea Bacsinszky in straight sets. In the second round, she played No. 3 seed Francesca Schiavone, whom she defeated. In the quarterfinals, faced Marion Bartoli, losing in straight sets, for the first time in the season.

Peng then entered the Indian Wells Open, narrowly missed out on being seeded, and defeated Renata Voráčová in the first round. In the second round, she defeated No. 7 seed Li Na for the first time in her career. In the third round, she came back from 2–5 down in the final set to beat Czech qualifier Lucie Hradecká. In the fourth round, she battled past 18th seed Nadia Petrova, 16th seed Maria Sharapova defeated her 6–2, 5–7, 6–3 in a 2-hour 22 minute quarterfinal match. Peng moved up to No. 32 in the world as a result, one spot off her career high of 31. Her next tournament was the Miami Open. Unseeded, she defeated Gréta Arn in the first round 6–1, 6–2, and followed that up with a win against 20th seed Aravane Rezaï in the second round 6–0, 6–4. She then defeated 11th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 6–3, 6–1 in the third round, avenging her loss to the same player at this event the previous year. Peng then fell to 26th seed Alexandra Dulgheru 3–6, 4–6 but reached the semifinals of the doubles competition with Shahar Pe'er.

Peng rose to a new career-high ranking of No. 30 and was seeded 11th at the Family Circle Cup in Charleston. In the first round, she defeated qualifier Sloane Stephens 6–2, 6–1, and in the second round Ayumi Morita, with the same score. In the third round, she outlasted seventh seed Nadia Petrova to reach the quarterfinals where she defeated Indian qualifier Sania Mirza. Elena Vesnina upset her in the semifinals. Due to her good performance, Peng rose to a new career high of 29 in the world rankings. After a short break, Peng resumed competition at the Madrid Open where she was defeated by No. 3 seed Francesca Schiavone in a narrow two-setter. This was Peng's first first-round defeat of 2011. In the first round of the Italian Open in Rome, she was defeated by American qualifier Christina McHale in just under three hours. However, Peng won the doubles title alongside Zheng Jie, defeating No. 3 seeds Yaroslava Shvedova and Vania King, in straight sets.

Peng played her final warm-up tournament prior to Roland Garros at the Brussels Open as the No. 8 seed. In the first round, she defeated Kirsten Flipkens and then destroying qualifier Abigail Spears 6–2, 6–0 in the second round. In the quarterfinals, Peng's good form continued with a two-set-defeat of Sofia Arvidsson. In the semifinals, Peng secured her first victory over current world No. 3, Vera Zvonareva, in straight sets to reach her first Premier final and fourth final of her career. In the final, Peng eventually fell to world No. 1, Caroline Wozniacki, in three sets. At the French Open, Peng defeated Tamira Paszek of Austria in the first round, and in the second Polona Hercog. In the third round, she was up against defending champion Francesca Schiavone, but retiring due to illness. She broke into the top 20 after her run in the French Open.

Peng then moved onto grass and played the Birmingham Classic, reaching the semifinals with wins over Naomi Broady, Heather Watson and Marina Erakovic before falling to eventual champion Sabine Lisicki in straight sets. Peng also competed at the Eastbourne International, falling to third seed Azarenka in the first round. At Wimbledon, Peng defeated Kirsten Flipkens in the first round 6–0, 6–4 and reached the third round by defeating local hope Elena Baltacha. She beat Melinda Czink in the third round and faced the fifth seed, Maria Sharapova, in the round of 16, losing to the eventual runner-up in straight sets.

Posting good results at Cincinnati, where she reached the quarterfinals defeating Peer in the third round but then had to retire hurt, Peng reached another career-high ranking of world No. 14, before the US Open, where she was seeded 13th. At the last stop of the US Open Series, the inaugural Texas Tennis Open as the No. 1 seed in the draw, Peng was forced to withdraw with an injury. Seeded 13th at the US Open, Peng defeated Varvara Lepchenko in the first round. She followed this up beating former Wimbledon semifinalist Tsvetana Pironkova. She advanced to the fourth round for the first time with a win over 19th seed Julia Görges but lost to Flavia Pennetta in the round of 16, after holding four set points in the second set tiebreak. Even though she had an impressive run in the US Open, her ranking fell from 14 to 15.

Seeded 12th in the China Open, Peng lost to Flavia Pennetta in two sets. Peng then received a wildcard into the Bali Commonwealth Championships and drew Nadia Petrova in the quarterfinal. She lost to the Russian 4–6, 3–6. Despite the loss, she ended the year ranked 15 in the world. 2011 has been the most successful year in her career.

US Open – Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Peng began 2012 at Auckland as the No. 2 seed. In the opening round, she defeated qualifier Aravane Rezaï before losing in the second round to Lucie Hradecká. In the first round of Sydney she lost to Dominika Cibulková. In the first round of the Australian Open she drew French wildcard Aravane Rezaï and this time she beat her more comfortably. However, in some what of an upset, Peng was beaten in round two by Iveta Benešová. So she did not defend her fourth-round points from last year. Peng next played Fed Cup for China where they were victorious.

At the Qatar Open, she beat Fatma Al-Nabhani in the first round. In the second, she came up against Christina McHale and was beaten in three sets. Up next was Dubai Championships and in the first round she faced sixth seed Marion Bartoli and in somewhat of a shock because of the run Marion has been on, the Chinese beat her in straight sets. Peng, however, lost in the second round to Daniela Hantuchová. She competed in the Malaysian Open where she was seeded third and beat Yvonne Meusburger in three sets. Peng then lost in the quarterfinals in a tight three-setter against Petra Martić, who went on to reach the final. At Indian Wells, where she was seeded 17th, she got a bye in the first round, but lost to Ksenia Pervak in the second.

Peng then took a month's break from the game and returned to play in the Madrid Open. However, Peng has not been able to capture the success she got in 2011 and fell in the first round to Lucie Hradecká. In Rome, Peng was beaten in the early rounds. She next played the warm-up tournament to Roland Garros in Brussels where she has final points to defend. She was seeded eighth and up against Sofia Arvidsson. Peng lost in the first round in two sets.

Then she played the Wimbledon Championships as the 30th seed, where she beat Sandra Zaniewska, Ayumi Morita and Arantxa Rus to reach her second consecutive round of 16. She lost to Maria Kirilenko in three sets. At the 2012 Summer Olympics, she competed in the women's singles and the women's doubles with Zheng Jie. She reached the second round, losing to Petra Kvitová, and her doubles pairing reached the quarterfinals.[10]

2013: Wimbledon and Tour Championships doubles champions[edit]

Peng started her 2013 season by playing in the new Shenzhen Open where she reached the semifinals comfortably. She faced fellow Chinese player Li Na where she lost in two sets. She next played the Hobart International, where she stunned first seed Hsieh Su-wei in the opening round before losing in the second round in three sets against Monica Niculescu. Peng then competed in the Australian Open where she won her first round easily by beating Canadian Rebecca Marino, but she lost to Maria Kirilenko in the second round in two sets.

After a few weeks off from the tour, Peng returned to Indian Wells, where she reached the third round losing to Sam Stosur. She then played the Miami Open, where she defeated Sofia Arvidsson in the opening round but lost to Petra Kvitová in the second.

Peng then started the clay-court season by competing in the qualifying event for the Porsche Tennis Grand Prix. She lost in the second round and failed to qualify. At Portugal, she was drawn against the top seed Marion Bartoli. Both women were nervous on clay and this topsy-turvy match ended with Peng winning 6–0, 1–6, 6–4. Her next opponent was Romina Oprandi from Switzerland where she lost in two sets. In the Madrid Open, Peng lost in the first round against qualifier Christina McHale. Peng then travelled to Rome for the Italian Open where she was defeated in the second by Sam Stosur. Peng then competed in the Brussels Open, where she reached the final by defeating Sofia Arvidsson, Olga Govortsova, Sloane Stephens and Romina Oprandi. Unfortunately, Peng's defeat in finals continued as she lost to Kaia Kanepi. At Roland Garros, Peng lost in the second round to seventh seed Petra Kvitová.

In Wimbledon, she lost to Marina Erakovic in the second round in straight sets. In the US Open Series, she lost back-to-back against Caroline Wozniacki in the first rounds of the Western & Southern Open and New Haven Open. At the US Open, she lost in the second round against Kuznetsova in three sets. In the Asian swing, she lost to qualifier Johanna Konta in the second round of Guangzhou International, to Madison Keys in the second round of Pan Pacific Open as well as to wildcard holder and countrywomen Zhang Shuai in the opening round of China Open. Her last event of the year was Luxembourg Open where she lost to the fifth seed Lucie Šafářová. She ended the year with a ranking of No. 45 in the world.

On the other hand, Peng began her huge success as a doubles player from 2013. Paired with her long-time friend from childhood Hsieh Su-wei, Peng clinched five double's titles in 2013, including two Premier-5 events (Rome and Cincinnati), Wimbledon,[12] and WTA Championships. Peng became the first Chinese player to win the WTA Tour Championships, and the fifth to win a Grand Slam title, after Zheng Jie, Yan Zi, Sun Tiantian and Li Na.

2014: World No. 1 in doubles; French Open doubles title; first major singles semifinal[edit]

Peng reached the final in the Shenzhen Open and lost to Li Na. At the Australian Open, she lost in the opening round to Kurumi Nara in the opening round. She also lost in the second round in the doubles event against Shahar Pe'er and Sílvia Soler Espinosa in three sets with Hsieh. Peng then won two consecutive doubles titles, winning the Pattaya Open with Zhang Shuai defeating Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova in the final, and winning the Qatar Open with Hsieh Su-wei defeating Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik in the final. On 17 February, Peng became the world No. 1 in doubles, making her the first Chinese tennis player (man or woman, in singles or doubles) to reach world No. 1. Peng and Hsieh continued their success by winning three more titles in the season, including two Premiere Mandatory events (Indian Wells and Beijing) and French Open.[12] In the Wimbledon Championships, they failed in defending their title and also lost their No. 1 ranking.

However, since Wimbledon, Peng somehow found her pace in the games and made several of her best appearance in the singles events. She reached the last 16 in a major event after two years at the Wimbledon Championships. She also clinched title in the 125K event in Nanchang. At the US Open, Peng made her first Grand Slam singles quarterfinal and semifinal appearances, defeating compatriot Zheng Jie, fourth-seeded Agnieszka Radwańska, 28th-seeded Roberta Vinci, 14th-seeded Lucie Šafářová, and rising star Belinda Bencic en route, all in straight sets.[13] In the semi-final, she had to retire against 10th-seeded Caroline Wozniacki in the semifinal at 6–7, 3–4 down, when she suffered severe cramps due to heat illness and had to be taken off court in a wheelchair.[14] She skipped playing the following Hong Kong Open to recover, but made promotional appearances there. She came back in the Wuhan Open and lost to Mona Barthel in the first round. In the China Open, she lost to third seed Petra Kvitová in straight sets. In the Tianjin Open, she reached the semifinal and retired against Belinda Bencic.

Peng and Hsieh entered the WTA Finals as the second seed. They beat Garbiñe Muguruza/Carla Suárez Navarro and Alla Kudryavtseva/Anastasia Rodionova in straight sets to reach the final. However, they lost disastrously to Cara Black/Sania Mirza. They pairing then came to conclusion as Peng had previously announced during the US Open.

2015: Injury[edit]

Peng had a difficult 2015 season. Due to injuries, she had a lot of first round or second round losses. Her best performance of the season was fourth round of the Australian Open, which tied her best performance. As the 21st seed, Peng beat German qualifier Tatjana Maria in the opening round, Magdaléna Rybáriková in the second round and Kazakh Yaroslava Shvedova, all in straight sets. In the fourth round match, she lost to second seed and the eventual runner-up Maria Sharapova by 3–6, 0–6.

More weirdly, Peng failed to win even one doubles match in 2015. She started the season with her Tianjin teammate Xu Yifan in preparation for the 2016 Olympics,[15] but ended up losing in the first round matches in the Shenzhen Open and Australian Open. Especially, in their first-round match in the Australian Open against the 15th seed, Kimiko Date-Krumm and Casey Dellacqua, they wasted a 6–4, 5–0 lead, two match points in the second set and three more in the twelfth game of the final set and eventually lost to their opponents.[16][17] Peng was particularly frustrated by Xu, who was constantly attacked by their opponents and making a lot of unforced errors, and decided to split the partnership.[18] She played two more tournaments, with Květa Peschke at Dubai and Zarina Diyas at Madrid, but was not able to win a set.

After the first round retirement to Polona Hercog in the first round of French Open, Peng announced the end of her 2015 season due to injuries in her back and waist.[19]

2016: Comeback with first WTA singles title[edit]

Peng at the 2016 US Open

Peng returned to the tour in Indian Wells. She suffered from a number of early exits in several events, including the first-round loss in the Olympic Games. In the Asian swing, Peng gradually improved her level. In the China Open, Peng defeated sixth seed Venus Williams in the first round by straight sets, and lost in close match to Caroline Garcia in the second round. In the Tianjin Open, she clinched her first ever WTA singles title with a wildcard. As a resident in Tianjin, she received a withdraw from seventh seed and compatriot Zhang Shuai in the beginning round. In the second round, she defeated qualifier Chang Kai-chen in straight sets. She benefited from the withdraw from the top seed Agnieszka Radwańska in the quarterfinal and beat Danka Kovinić from Montenegro in a tight three-setter semifinal, which lasted for two days due to rain delays. Peng had to play final several hours after the semifinal against the 2014 champion Alison Riske, in which she won in two sets. She also won the doubles-final match with Christina McHale.

2017: Australian Open doubles final, second WTA singles title[edit]

Peng started the season in the Shenzhen Open, where she lost to the eventual champion, Kateřina Siniaková, in the opening round. In the doubles event, she clinched her 21st title with Andrea Hlaváčková without losing a set. She then competed in the Australian Open. In the first round, she stunned the 23rd seed Daria Kasatkina in straight sets, before losing to Eugenie Bouchard. In the doubles event, as the 12th seed, Peng and Hlavackova reached the final without dropping a set, defeating third seed and Olympic champion Ekaterina Makarova/Elena Vesnina and top-seed Caroline Garcia/Kristina Mladenovic en route. In the final, they lost a tight match against the 2015 champion Mattek-Sands/Šafářová, in three sets.

Peng then competed in the Taiwan Open, where she reached her eighth WTA final without losing a set. In the final, she lost to the top seed and world No. 13 Elina Svitolina, who was under her 15-match winning streak, in straight sets. In the Dubai Championships, she defeated Lesia Tsurenko and ninth seed Barbora Strýcová in the opening rounds, before losing to Latvian Anastasija Sevastova in the third round. She also reached the final in the doubles event with Hlavackova and lost to Vesnina/Makarova with a match tie-break. At Indian Wells, as a qualifier, Peng stunned 31st seed Ana Konjuh in the second round and sixth seed Agnieszka Radwańska in the third round before she lost to 12th seed Venus Williams in a close three-setter. Peng played the 2017 Mutua Madrid Open, where she fell in the first round against Suárez Navarro.

She won her second WTA singles title at the Jiangxi Open in Nanchan, China defeating Nao Hibino in the final.

2018: TIU sanction[edit]

On 8 August 2018, Peng was banned for six months and fined $10,000 by the Tennis Integrity Unit (TIU) for using coercion and offering possible financial reward so that her main partner would agree to withdraw from the ladies doubles after the sign-in deadline at the 2017 Wimbledon Championships.[20] (Her partner, Alison Van Uytvanck, refused and Peng withdrew from the tournament instead.)[21] Three months of her ban and $5,000 of the fine were suspended.[20] Her former coach Bertrand Perret of France was also banned for three months.[22]

2019[edit]

Peng began her 2019 season at the Shenzhen Open. She retired during the third set of her first-round match against Kristýna Plíšková due to a thigh injury.[23] In doubles, she and compatriot, Yang Zhaoxuan, won the title beating Duan Yingying/Renata Voráčová in the final. At the Australian Open, she lost in the first round to Eugenie Bouchard.[24] After the Australian Open, she competed at the Thailand Open. Here, she was defeated in the second round by eighth seed and eventual champion, Dayana Yastremska.[25]

In April, Peng played at the Kunming Open. Seeded fifth, she was eliminated in the first round by Alexandra Cadanțu.[26] At the Empire Slovak Open, she was beaten in the first round by Antonia Lottner. Playing in Roland Garros, she fell in the first round of qualifying to Rebecca Šramková.[27]

Playing at the Ilkley Trophy, Peng lost in the first round to Yanina Wickmayer. At Wimbledon, she was defeated in the first round of qualifying by British wildcard Samantha Murray Sharan.[28]

In August, Peng took part in the Rogers Cup. She fell in the first round of qualifying to American Jennifer Brady. Getting past qualifying at the US Open, she lost in the second round to 30th seed Maria Sakkari in three sets.[29]

At the Jiangxi Open, Peng made it to the semifinals where she was defeated by fourth seed Elena Rybakina.[30] In doubles, she and Zhang Shuai reached the final and lost to compatriots Wang Xinyu/Zhu Lin.[31] In Guangzhou, she upset second seed and defending champion, Qiang Wang, in the first round.[32] She was beaten in the second round by Nina Stojanović.[33] However, in doubles, she and Laura Siegemund won the title defeating Alexa Guarachi/Giuliana Olmos in the final.[34] At the Wuhan Open, she lost in the first round to Garbiñe Muguruza.[35] In Beijing, she was defeated in the first round by Daria Kasatkina.[36] At the Tianjin Open, she fell in the second round to Dayana Yastremska.[37] Seeded third at the Suzhou Open, she won the title beating fourth seed Zhu Lin in the final.

2020[edit]

Peng started her 2020 season at the Shenzhen Open. She lost in the second round to fifth seed and eventual champion, Ekaterina Alexandrova.[38] In Hobart, she and Zhang Shuai reached the doubles final and were defeated by Nadiia Kichenok/Sania Mirza.[39] At the Australian Open, she was eliminated in the first round by qualifier Nao Hibino.[40]

At the Thailand Open, Peng was beaten in the second round by fifth seed and eventual champion, Magda Linette.[41] In Doha, she fell in the first round of qualifying to Magdalena Fręch.[42]

2021–2022[edit]

Although Peng has not announced her retirement, as of January 2022 she has not played a match since the February 2020 Qatar Total Open in Doha, and is not known to have had any injuries in this time period.[43][44]

Sexual assault allegation and disappearance[edit]

Initial allegations against Zhang Gaoli[edit]

On 2 November 2021, Peng posted a lengthy message[45] on her verified Weibo account where, according to several media outlets, she accused Zhang Gaoli, a retired Chinese vice-premier and member of the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), of forcing or pressuring her into sex three years ago.[46][47][48] Deutsche Welle, SET News, and United Daily News provided screenshots of her post, where Peng mentioned a sexual encounter at least seven years ago with Zhang, who had pursued her first and was 40 years her senior.[49][50][51] Upon his appointment to the PSC, Zhang stopped contacting her.[UDN 1] About three years ago, however, after his retirement, Zhang and his wife brought Peng to their home after a tennis game. He wanted to be intimate with Peng, who kept crying and disagreed at first.[UDN 2][48][52] After having supper with the couple and some more persuasion from Zhang, while scared and nervous but still carrying feelings for him from the past, Peng in the end agreed.[UDN 3][48] Afterwards, she continued their relationship, and they would at times talk for hours, play chess and tennis, "getting along so well that everything just felt right".[UDN 4][53] Every time she visited Zhang, however, Peng suffered humiliation from his wife's verbal abuse.[54] Zhang had said that while he loved Peng, divorcing his wife was politically impossible, and Peng lamented about the importance of title and status ("名分").[UDN 5][55] Following a dispute on 30 October, with Zhang seemingly about to "disappear" on her again, Peng came out with her account, despite not having made any audio or video recordings as evidence of her relationship with Zhang.[UDN 6] According to Shannon Tiezzie of The Diplomat, unhappiness with the hidden nature of the relationship and repeated slights apparently caused Peng to post her story,[55] while Cindy Yu, writing for The Spectator, expounded upon the modern phenomenon of rich, successful men in China keeping "concubines".[53]

While Chinese authorities have charged officials in the past with sexual misconduct under corruption, this was the first time a member of the top echelon of the CCP has faced public allegations.[56][57] Peng's revelations drew attention to the #MeToo movement in China, which in 2021 saw the arrest of Kris Wu and the firing of a male Alibaba executive after widespread discussions online and criticisms from state media.[48][58][57] In contrast, Peng's post was removed from Weibo within 20 minutes of being uploaded, although screenshots of it were saved, and all discussion about the matter became subject to blanket censorship in China.[59][57] Despite this, knowledge of the news continued to circulate in some form in China, with #MeToo activist Zhou Xiaoxuan expressing sympathy for Peng.[57][48]

Disappearance and aftermath[edit]

Following her accusation, she did not communicate on social media.[60][61] When asked about Peng's whereabouts, foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said "I have not heard of the issue you raised. This is not a diplomatic question".[62][59] On 17 November, foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian was asked about the matter again at a press conference. He replied that the matter was not a diplomatic issue and suggested that the reporter contact the "relevant department".[49] Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the CCP-owned tabloid Global Times tweeted "As a person who is familiar with Chinese system, I don't believe Peng Shuai has received retaliation and repression speculated by foreign media for the thing people talked about". Commentators seized upon the "he who must not be named" wording in Hu's tweet, and noted that the Global Times has not covered the accusations against the former vice-premier at all.[63]

On 14 November, the chief executive of the WTA, Steve Simon, called on Chinese authorities to investigate Peng's allegations and called for an end to official state censorship on the subject. The state-affiliated Chinese Tennis Association sent a confirmation to the WTA that Peng was safe and not under any physical threat. Simon stated that no one associated with the WTA, including officials and active players, had been able to reach her directly to confirm her status.[64][65] ATP chairman Andrea Gaudenzi also issued a statement in which he expressed concern about the uncertainty surrounding Peng's immediate safety and whereabouts. He also expressed his full support for WTA's investigation into Peng's allegations, while stating that the ATP would continue to monitor the situation closely. On 12 November, the hashtag #WhereIsPengShuai was first used, and went on to trend globally. On 15 November, tennis player Novak Djokovic expressed his shock at Peng's disappearance in comments to reporters after winning his ATP Finals opener. On 16 November, tennis player Naomi Osaka posted a message on Twitter demanding answers about Peng's whereabouts and her sexual allegation. Tennis players Serena Williams, Andy Murray and Billie Jean King expressed their concerns on Peng's alleged disappearance.[66][67][68][69] Djokovic said the incident was "shocking" and Osaka said "Censorship is never OK at any cost."[70] On 21 November, both Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal also voiced concern for Peng.[71][72] On 15 November, Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated noted that the "2008 Beijing Games that were supposed to liberalize China made its regime only more brazen in rejecting liberal democracy and human rights" and called for the cancellation of all tournaments in China until the whereabouts of Peng had been ascertained. Wertheim suggested that "while the Tour has called for an investigation into the allegations made by former pro Peng Shuai, it also has a considerable opportunity in this crisis: to cut ties with a country so unaligned with its mission". Wertheim suggested that "leaving China also lets the WTA distinguish itself for principles. What a statement this would send—especially with a Winter Olympics months away. What a way to say, “Our athletes’ safety and our moral principles—our belief in women’s rights, human rights and democracy—matter more than our balance sheets.”[73]

On 17 November, Chinese state media outlet China Global Television Network released an email allegedly written by Peng to Simon, which stated that she was resting at home and that her allegation of sexual assault was not true, and that she was not missing. The email also criticized the WTA for releasing what it claimed was unverified information about Peng without her consent. The authenticity of the email was cast in doubt with many pointing out that a typing cursor appears to be visible on the screenshot of the email. Responding in regard to the email, Simon stated that it only raised his concerns as to her safety and whereabouts. He reiterated that Peng's sexual assault allegation must be investigated "with full transparency and without censorship". He also threatened to withdraw WTA tournaments in China until sexual assault allegations made by Peng are properly addressed.[74][75][76] Mareike Ohlberg of the Marshall Fund felt that the purported email was "not meant to convince people but to intimidate".[77][78] The International Tennis Federation later said in a statement that it was committed to player safety and supports an investigation into the whereabouts of Peng.[79] Meanwhile, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) said in a statement that they had "seen the latest reports and are encouraged by assurances that she is safe".[80] In contrast to the IOC's quiet diplomacy, Tony Estanguet, the president of the 2024 Summer Olympics, has called for the "greatest transparency" regarding the health and safety of Peng.[81]

Amnesty International called on China to prove that Peng is safe and to investigate the sexual assault allegations against Zhang.[82] On 19 November, the spokesperson of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell called on China to provide proof of her whereabouts and wellbeing, and urged for an investigation with full transparency into her sexual assault allegations.[83] On the same day, Chinese state media reporter Shen Shiwei shared screenshots of a WeChat thread of what he alleged to be Peng's chats with her friend, which consisted of three photos of Peng posing with her cat and stuffed animals including Winnie the Pooh (a character blocked by censors after it was used as a meme for CCP general secretary Xi Jinping, though Pooh Bear merchandise is still legally allowed for purchase in China).[84][85][86]

On 20 November, Hu Xijin posted videos showing Peng at a restaurant, on his Twitter page. Hu also stated that Peng stayed in her own home freely and did not want to be disturbed in the past few days, and that she would reappear and participate in public activities soon. Hu later shared videos showing Peng at the opening ceremony of the Fila Kids Junior Tennis Challenger Finals in Beijing.[87][88] Hu tweeted "Can any girl fake such sunny smile under pressure? Those who suspect Peng Shuai is under duress, how dark they must be inside. There must be many, many forced political performances in their countries."[72] Hu’s newspaper also started to frame Peng's status "as an ideological struggle between China and the west". China's foreign ministry spokesman, after denying knowledge of the incident multiple times, said "I hope certain people will cease malicious hyping, let alone politicisation”. After the French embassy in Beijing posted on its Weibo account about Peng, while censors did not take down the post, they prioritized comments of “mind your own business” and mentioning the Church sexual assault of children. Overall Chinese state media have "focused on her smiles and apparent good-spirits" and have not mentioned Peng's sexual assault allegation. According to Maria Repnikova, director of the Center for Global Information Studies at Georgia State University, they appear to be deploying the "familiar tactic of bypassing critiques or questions by underscoring western hypocrisy".[72][89] A New York Times and ProPublica analysis of Twitter accounts identified 97 fake accounts promoting messaging about Peng from the Global Times editor and other Chinese state media.[90]

On 21 November, the IOC said Peng had spoken to Thomas Bach, Emma Terho and Li Lingwei in a video call and said she "is safe and well, living at her home in Beijing, but would like to have her privacy respected at this time"; the IOC did not release the video.[91] The WTA said that "It was good to see Peng Shuai in recent videos, but they don't alleviate or address the WTA's concern about her well-being and ability to communicate without censorship or coercion", requesting that she either be allowed to leave the country or speak live via teleconference with Steve Simon and no one else present. The WTA called for an investigation into Peng's sexual assault allegation, which, it said, was "the issue that gave rise to our initial concern".[92][93] Nikki Dryden, a human rights lawyer and former Olympic swimmer for Canada, suggested that this was an IOC “media exercise” designed to allay growing threats of diplomatic boycotts for the 2022 Winter Olympics, saying “I’m so relieved she’s alive, but the execution of this proof-of-life video is really troubling from a safeguarding perspective". Elaine Pearson, the Australia director of Human Rights Watch, was critical, saying, "Frankly, it is shameful to see the IOC participating in this Chinese government's charade that everything is fine and normal for Peng Shuai. Clearly it is not, otherwise why would the Chinese government be censoring Peng Shuai from the internet in China and not letting her speak freely to media or the public."[94] Maya Wang, senior China researcher at Human Rights Watch (HRW), describing Beijing's silencing campaigns, said "What we have here is essentially a state-controlled narrative: only the government and its affiliated media are generating and distributing the content about Peng's story. While it is possible that Peng is well, the history of the Chinese government disappearing people and then making videos of them to prove that they are unharmed when it is, in fact, the opposite, should make us worried about Peng's safety."[72] In The Strategist published by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, OSINT journalist Tom Jarvis writes that despite "unanswered questions about Peng’s situation", events "may have been staged to ease international pressure on the China Open and the government".[95]

On 30 November, a European Union spokesman said "the EU joins growing international demands, including by sport professionals, for assurances that she is free and not under threat. In this spirit, the EU requests the Chinese government to provide verifiable proof of Peng Shuai's safety, well-being and whereabouts".[96][97] On December 1, 2021, Dick Pound, a longtime member of the International Olympic Committee, stated that the unanimous conclusion by the people who have been on a call with Peng Shuai is that she is fine.[98]

On that same day, the Women's Tennis Association announced that they would suspend all tournaments in China and Hong Kong.[99][100] Michael Caster, co-founder of the human rights watchdog Safeguard Defenders, which monitors disappearances in China, said "the Women’s Tennis Association has more credibility right now than Interpol in pushing back on China’s gross human rights abuses, abduction of members of its organisation, and poking holes in what is just thinly-veiled coercive statements and propaganda". Erin Hale of Al Jazeera contrasted the WTA's concern over Peng with the muted response of Interpol during the disappearance of its former chief Meng Hongwei, where the organization had accepted his resignation letter and did not investigate Meng's whereabouts due to internal rules.[101]

On 2 December, the International Olympic Committee reported that it held a second call with Peng on the day before, where she reconfirmed that she is safe and well, given the difficult situation she is in. The IOC did not provide any pictures nor videos of the call. IOC spokesman Mark Adams said “We can’t provide you with absolute certainty on anything. All we can do is do the best we can in the process that we believe is in the best interests of the well-being of the athlete.”[102] The WTA received an e-mail purportedly from Peng who "expressed her shock for WTA's unfair decision to suspend all tournaments in China."[103]

On 6 December, the Global Times posted an editorial on Twitter in English, accusing the WTA of "expanding its influence in a speculative way, bringing politics into women's tennis deeply, setting a bad example for the entire sporting world" while omitting the WTA's reason for pulling out of China; this editorial wasn't posted on Chinese-language social media. Xiao Qiang, editor-in-chief of the China Digital Times based in Berkeley, said "China's external propaganda on this matter is like a paper box that cannot hold water in front of its own people", observing that China's social media platforms have been completely silent about Peng and the WTA instead of the characteristic nationalism attacks on parties that are deemed to have "offended China" since the sexual assault allegations would be politically damaging to the Communist Party.[104] David Bandurski, director of the China Media Project, said "We could talk here about a two-pronged strategy, about how China has enforced complete silence at home while pushing a narrative externally about meddling journalists and the politicizing of sport. But to call it a strategy at all suggests a sophistication that is not really there. What we actually see is desperation, the editor-in-chief of one state-run newspaper rushing out on Twitter and banging his dishpan. The point is to distract the world from obvious and damning facts."[105]

On 19 December, Singaporean Chinese-language newspaper Lianhe Zaobao published a six-minute video of its interview with Peng and provided subtitles in English.[106][107][108][109] In the video, which showed her and former athletes, such as Yao Ming, reportedly at an International Ski Federation cross-country skiing event in Shanghai, Peng said that she has been "staying at home" and has "always been free".[110][106][107][111] She also stated in Mandarin, "I have never said or written that anyone has sexually assaulted me, I have to clearly stress this point ... with regards to Weibo, it’s about my personal privacy ... There’s been a lot of misunderstanding ... There [should be] no distorted interpretation", adding that the state media translation of her November email to Simon denying allegations of sexual assault was accurate.[111][106][110][112] In response to the video, the WTA released a statement saying "We remain steadfast in our call for a full, fair and transparent investigation, without censorship, into her allegation of sexual assault, which is the issue that gave rise to our initial concern".[113] An anonymous China watcher said in the Asia Sentinel that "the Chinese government is definitely behind Lianhe Zaobao to increase the credibility of the story. If the story was by state media, it would carry far less weight. Peng Shuai was under pressure to say what she said. We’ve seen this too often with the self-incrimination on TV. All these are popular tactics of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party)."[114] Peng's apparent withdrawal of her allegation notwithstanding, the same China watcher also said that "Zhang won’t be punished before the Winter Olympics in February, because it will be bad publicity for the international event", but "after the Olympics, he will be in trouble."[114]

Career statistics[edit]

Grand Slam performance timelines[edit]

Key
W  F  SF QF #R RR Q# DNQ A NH
(W) Won; (F) finalist; (SF) semifinalist; (QF) quarterfinalist; (#R) rounds 4, 3, 2, 1; (RR) round-robin stage; (Q#) qualification round; (DNQ) did not qualify; (A) absent; (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.

Singles[edit]

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 SR W–L Win %
Australian Open A 2R 1R 2R 1R 3R 1R 4R 2R 2R 1R 4R A 2R 1R 1R 1R A 0 / 15 13–15 46%
French Open Q3 2R 2R A 2R 1R A 3R 3R 2R 1R 1R A 1R 2R Q1 A A 0 / 11 9–11 45%
Wimbledon 1R A 3R 1R 3R 2R A 4R 4R 2R 4R A 1R 3R 1R Q1 NH A 0 / 12 17–12 59%
US Open Q1 1R 1R 1R 2R 2R 3R 4R 1R 2R SF A 1R 2R A 2R A A 0 / 13 15–13 54%
Win–Loss 0–1 2–3 3–4 1–3 4–4 4–4 2–2 11–4 6–4 4–4 8–4 3–2 0–2 4–4 1–3 1–2 0–1 0–0 0 / 51 54–51 51%
Career statistics
Titles 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 Career total: 2
Finals 0 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 1 1 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 Career total: 9
Year-end ranking 73 37 56 46 40 47 72 17 40 45 21 137 84 27 298 75 117 306 $9,617,653

Doubles[edit]

Tournament 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 SR W–L
Australian Open A 3R 2R 2R 2R QF 3R 3R 1R 3R 2R 1R 1R F SF 1R 1R A 0 / 16 24–16
French Open A 1R 2R A 3R SF A 2R 3R 2R W A A 3R 1R 1R A A 1 / 11 19–10
Wimbledon A A 2R QF 1R 1R A QF 1R W 3R A 2R A 2R 1R NH A 1 / 11 18–10
US Open QF 2R 1R 2R 3R 2R 2R 1R QF QF 3R A A SF A 2R A A 0 / 13 22–13
Win–Loss 3–1 3–3 3–4 5–3 5–4 8–4 3–2 6–4 5–4 12–3 11–3 0–1 1–2 12–4 4–1 1–4 0–1 0–0 2 / 51 83–49
Year-end championships
WTA Finals Did Not Qualify W F Did Not Qualify 1 / 2 4–1
Career statistics
Titles 0 0 0 1 2 3 0 1 0 5 5 0 3 1 0 2 0 0 Career total: 23
Finals 0 0 0 2 2 3 2 1 0 5 6 0 3 3 1 3 1 0 Career total: 32
Year-end ranking 85 61 105 20 27 12 39 25 56 4 3 872 44 9 63 49 58 192

Grand Slam tournaments[edit]

Doubles: 3 (2 titles, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 2013 Wimbledon Grass Chinese Taipei Hsieh Su-wei Australia Ashleigh Barty
Australia Casey Dellacqua
7–6(7–1), 6–1
Win 2014 French Open Clay Chinese Taipei Hsieh Su-wei Italy Sara Errani
Italy Roberta Vinci
6–4, 6–1
Loss 2017 Australian Open Hard Czech Republic Andrea Hlaváčková United States Bethanie Mattek-Sands
Czech Republic Lucie Šafářová
7–6(7–4), 3–6, 3–6

Year-end championships[edit]

Doubles: 2 (1 title, 1 runner-up)[edit]

Result Year Tournament Surface Partner Opponents Score
Win 2013 WTA Finals, Istanbul Hard (i) Chinese Taipei Hsieh Su-wei Russia Ekaterina Makarova
Russia Elena Vesnina
6–4, 7–5
Loss 2014 WTA Finals, Singapore Hard (i) Chinese Taipei Hsieh Su-wei Zimbabwe Cara Black
India Sania Mirza
1–6, 0–6

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ We had sexual encounter once seven years before, afterwards you were promoted to the Politburo Standing Committee, left for Beijing, and didn't contact me again. [...] Afterwards you kept denying it, but truly it was you who favored me first, otherwise I would not have been able to come into contact with you. 七年前我們發生過一次性關係,然後你升常委去北京就再沒聯繫過我。[...]後來你一直否認,可確是你先喜歡的我,否則我也不可能接觸的到你。(ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)
  2. ^ Approximately three years ago vice premier Zhang Gaoli you retired, [...] After our AM tennis session, your wife Kang Jie and you brought me to your home. Then brought me to a room at your residence, like that time over 10 years before in Tianjin, wanted to have sexual encounter with me. [...] On the afternoon that day I originally did not agree and kept crying, had supper together with you and aunt Kang Jie (editor's note: Zhang Gaoli's wife), [...] Nonetheless after supper I was also unwilling, you said you hated me! 大概三年前張高麗副總理你退休了,[...]上午打完球,你和妻子康潔一起帶我去了你們家。然後把我帶進你家的房間,和十多年前在天津時一樣,要和我發生性關係。[...]那天下午我原本沒有同意一直哭,晚飯是和你還有康潔阿姨(編註:張高麗妻子)一起吃的,[...]晚飯後我也並不願意,你說恨我!(ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)
  3. ^ And said in those seven years you had never forgotten about me, will treat me well etc ...... afraid and nervous and carrying my feelings for you from seven years before I agreed ...... so yes we had sexual encounter. 又說你這七年從未忘記過我,會對我好等等......我又怕又慌帶著七年前對你的情感同意了......是的就是我們發生性關係了。(ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)
  4. ^ [...] from that day on I re-opened my love for you, [...] Together we played board games, sang, played ping-pong, billiards, and tennis we could always play until we couldn't be merrier, our personalities were so compatible as if everything matched. [...] we could chat forever, talk on and on without end [...] 從那日後我再次打開了對你的愛,[...]一起下棋,唱歌,打乒乓球,桌球,包括網球我們永遠可以打得不亦樂乎,性格是那麼的合得來好像一切都很搭。[...]我們有聊不完的天,講不完的話[...] (ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)
  5. ^ Every time you let me visit, behind your back your wife said so many nasty and insulting things to me, all kinds of caustic mockery and ridicules. [...] from the day I met you until now I've never used any of your money, let alone using you to obtain any benefit or perk, but this thing called standing is so important. [...] In our respective life each of us is a real-life invisible person, your wife is like the queen from Empresses in the Palace, while words cannot describe how unbearable I feel [...] 每次你讓我去,背著你你妻子對我說過多少難聽侮辱的話,各種冷嘲熱諷。[...]從認識你第一天到現在沒用過你一分錢,更沒通過你謀取過任何利益或者好處,可名分這東西真重要。[...]我們在彼此的生活中都是真實生活中的一個透明人,你的妻子好像甄環傳的皇后一樣,而我無法形容自己多麼的不堪[...] (ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)
  6. ^ There was a very big dispute on the night of the 30th, [...] using the excuse of re-connecting later ......, just like this "disappearing" like seven years before, after playing around you change your mind the moment you no longer want me. [...] True, beside myself I haven't left any evidence or proof, no audio recordings, no videos, only the true experience of how I've been twisted. 30號那天晚上爭議很大,[...]藉口說改天再聯繫......,就這樣和七年前一樣"消失了",玩玩想不要就不要了。[...]是的,除我以外我沒留下證據證明,沒有錄音、沒有錄像、只有被扭曲的我的真實經歷。(ref: United Daily News Network 聯合新聞網 2021)

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External links[edit]