In a couple of weeks, Schiavone will turn 34, and there have been signs of late that age is finally catching up with her. While her appetite for competing remains as healthy as ever, Schiavone has struggled for wins this year, posting just five and suffering a number of chastening defeats. Things have not been going much better for her first round foe in Birmingham, Zheng, who has chalked up just two main draw wins since the Australian Open, endangering her place in the Top 100.
The Turning Point
After three breaks in the first three games, Schiavone took charge of proceedings, leaving Zheng befuddled by her smorgasbord of spins and angles. With the first set in the bag, the Italian quickly moved 3-1 ahead in the second and, despite a late rally from Zheng, she eventually closed it out on her third match point.
By The Numbers
Schiavone has never been one to shy away from finishing off exchanges with a volley and she was particularly willing to come forward against Zheng, winning 16 of 21 points at the net.