Zheng Qinwen: Menstrual cramps derail Chinese teenager’s French Open dream against Swiatek

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Zheng, 19, looked set for a major upset as she won the opener in a tiebreaker before Swiatek took control to win 6-7(5) 6-0 6-2 for his 32nd consecutive victory.

Zheng said she didn’t feel any pain in the first set, but took a medical timeout at 3-0 in the second, having her back massaged on the court before heading to the locker room and come back with his right thigh tied.

“Yeah, the leg was also hard. Compared to the stomach, it was easy… I can’t play tennis, (my) stomach was too sore,” Zheng, ranked 74th in the world, told reporters.

“It’s just girl stuff, you know. The first day is always so hard and then I have to play sports and I’m always in so much pain on the first day. And I couldn’t go against my nature.

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“I wish I could be a man on the court, but I can’t right now… I really wish I could be (a) man (to) not have to suffer from that.”

Zheng, who made her Grand Slam debut at the Australian Open this year, said she tried her best to compete but was happy to have reached week two.

“If I don’t talk about today, I’m happy with my performance (on) this race. And playing against the world number one, I felt that I really enjoyed (that) on the pitch” , she added.

“If I don’t have a stomach (pain), I think I could enjoy it more, like running better and hitting harder, giving more effort on the court. It’s a shame I can’t give what I want to give today.

“I just want (that) the next time I play against her, I (am) in perfect shape.”

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