MELBOURNE -- China's Zheng Qinwen celebrated two important milestones after defeating Wang Yafan in a thrilling 10-point match tiebreak at the Australian Open on Sunday. 

The first milestone: With her 6-4, 2-6, 7-6[8] victory over Wang, Zheng advanced to her first Australian Open Round of 16. 

The second milestone: Zheng finally met China's trailblazing tennis icon Li Na, who is in Melbourne to participate in the legends' tournament. 

The surprise meeting took place at Melbourne Park after the match during Zheng's media rounds. Li surprised her by crashing an English television interview, stunning the 21-year-old before hugging a stunned Zheng.

"She just went to me like this, say congratulations," Zheng told reporters. "I was feeling super happy to meet her and have the chance to talk with her because I never talked with her in person. That was feeling really special for me.

What struck her the most about meeting the two-time major champion and former World No.2?

"You know, I feel she's much more beautiful than when I saw her on TV before," Zheng said, laughing.

Zheng and Li met for the first time years ago at an event during Wimbledon, but Saturday was the first time the two had ever spoken.

"We don't have each other's WeChat, no phone calls," Zheng said. "We met once before when I was a junior, but not single-to-single, face-to-face. 

"I didn't have the chance to talk with her, but today is the real first time we talk with each other."

Zheng had every reason to smile and laugh after her riveting day at the office. The 12th seed survived an outstanding challenge from Wang, who had booked a place in her first Slam third round after wins over Sorana Cirstea and Emma Raducanu. 

Zheng looked in control of the match early, but after taking the first set, she fell behind 3-0 in the second.

"I think the baseline stroke of hers is one of the best, I really can say that," Zheng said. "I just lost the second set. It was so fast like that, so I have to change my mindset in the third set."

Zheng led 4-2 in the final set before Wang once again reeled her in, breaking Zheng as she served at 5-4 for the win. The nip-and-tuck match tiebreak was decided in dramatic fashion, as Zheng won a 25-shot rally on her second match point to claim the win.

"I just throw the racquet like this when I won because usually I never do that," Zheng said. "That was my honestly real reaction in the last point when I won, yeah."

Zheng is the highest-remaining seed left in her quarter, which was previously anchored by No.3 Elena Rybakina and No.5 Jessica Pegula. She will face Oceane Dodin in the Round of 16 as she bids to make her second straight Slam quarterfinal. 

If she progresses, she will face either 26th seed Jasmine Paolini or Anna Kalinskaya for a spot in her first major semifinal. That's a big opportunity for Zheng, who was voted the Hologic WTA Tour's Most Improved Player last year. 

The key for Zheng? Take Li's advice to heart. 

"She said to me don't think too much, just keep simple," Zheng said. "I think that's right now what I need to do as well, yeah."