Zheng Saisai did not win her first WTA main draw match of 2014 until the first round of the US Open in August, but she caught fire from there and showed that she likely will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come.
After reaching the second round in Flushing Meadows, Zheng made at least the quarterfinals of her next five tournaments.
Zheng was a quarterfinalist at the WTA 125K Series event in Suzhou, a quarterfinalist in Hong Kong, a semifinalist in Tianjin, and a quarterfinalist at the WTA 125K Series events in Ningbo and Taipei.
Zheng's performance in Tianjin was especially memorable, as it was the best WTA outing of her career and featured the best win of her career - over World No.14 Jelena Jankovic in the second round.
"Jankovic is by far the highest-ranking player I've ever defeated," Zheng said.
"Being able to defeat a top player like her definitely gives me more confidence in future matches."
And Zheng made more news even after her WTA season officially wrapped up, as she was selected by the fans to take part in the inaugural WTA Rising Stars Invitational at the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global. She did them proud by finishing runner-up in the competition to Monica Puig.
So, the 20-year-old Zheng, whose season-ending ranking of No.97 is her best finish to a year, takes lots of momentum into 2015. She will have plenty of eyes on her as one of a few talented young Asians looking to fill the void left by her retired fellow Chinese Li Na, and so far she looks up to the task.