China’s Zheng Qinwen says severe menstrual cramps ruined her hopes for French Open: ‘Wish I was a man’

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China's Zheng Qinwen returns the ball to Poland's Iga Swiatek during their women's singles match on day nine of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament  (AFP via Getty Images)
China's Zheng Qinwen returns the ball to Poland's Iga Swiatek during their women's singles match on day nine of the Roland-Garros Open tennis tournament (AFP via Getty Images)

Chinese player Zheng Qinwen put up a tough fight against the world’s number one tennis player, but the debutant’s dream of competing in the French Open came to an end on Monday due to acute menstrual cramps.

Zheng, 19, failed to reach the French Open quarter-finals after Poland’s Iga Swiatek won 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2 for her 32nd straight victory.

The teenager, who was making her French Open debut, had already injured her right leg.

"It’s just girls’ things, you know. The first day is always so tough and then I have to do sport and I always have so much pain on the first day. And I couldn’t go against my nature,” she told reporters.

"I wish I can be a man on court, but I cannot in that moment...I really wish I can be (a) man (so) that I don’t have to suffer from this."

But despite her pains, the Chinese rising star took a set of world number one and Poland’s 2020 champion for the first time in the last 10 matches at the Roland Garros in Paris.

The world number 74 had to take two medical timeouts to strap her injured right leg early in the second set of the play.

Qinwen Zheng with leg strappings during her fourth round match against Poland's Iga Swiatek (REUTERS)
Qinwen Zheng with leg strappings during her fourth round match against Poland's Iga Swiatek (REUTERS)

Zheng struggled to move across the baseline, losing her momentum with the thigh strappings after the treatment, which led to a one-sided second set.

Her performance marginally improved in the third set after she got her strappings stripped off but the frustrated Chinese player appeared to be struggling as she committed errors.

This gave Swiatek two break points at 2-1 to seal her victory in the decider after three hours of agonising play to her opponent on the court.

“The leg made it tough,” added Zheng. “But that compared to the stomach was easy. I cannot play my tennis because the stomach was too much painful. I really give my best on court, it’s just tough.”

Swiatek, who had not dropped a set since 23 April when she lost to Russia’s Liudmila Samsonova, praised her Chinese opponent for “amazing tennis”.

“I was surprised with some of her shots, her top spin was amazing. Huge congrats to her. I am happy to come back after a frustrating first set when I had the lead.”

Swiatek reached the French Open quarter-finals for a third successive year and now has the third best winning streak this century with her 32 match wins.

She now faces world number 11 of the USA to secure a place in the semi-finals.

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