Bing is famous for being assertive on the court

Bing is famous for being assertive on the court

Struggling to stay upright as the stifling heat and humidity drained her energy in the US Open semi-finals, Peng Shuai refused to give up.

She stopped between two points to grab her left thigh and put her weight on her racket as if it were a stick. She leaned against the wall and wiped her tears.

After doctors helped her off the field and she was diagnosed with heat stroke, he told her to quit smoking. But Ping still came back for more. Six more points until she finally fell to the ground and her opponent, Caroline Wozniacki, entered the 2014 match, turning the net to check on her.

Only then, with her body pushed to the limit – perhaps even further – did Bing retire from the bout that was the pinnacle of her solo career.

Eventually, she was escorted away in a wheelchair.

For the player who beat heart surgery at the age of 12, quitting smoking doesn’t come easily to the top of the tennis superstar, who vanished after a former top Chinese official was accused of sexually assaulting her.

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Her hard-earned determination and unique play style characterized by her hand-holding on both fore and backhand strokes carried her to 23 doubles titles, including Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014.

Bing, 35, got into tennis at the age of 8 and is a fan of John McEnroe and has a lucky cow on her tennis bag to honor her birth in the year of the Ox.

She enjoys Chinese cuisine, reading, shopping, swimming and “considers herself to be quiet,” according to her WTA tour bio.

When she reached number one in doubles in February 2014, Peng became the first Chinese player – male or female – to reach number one in both singles and doubles.

Besides her Grand Slam doubles titles – both achieved with Taiwanese partner Hsieh Su Wei – Peng also reached the 2017 Australian Open final with Andrea Hlavakova.

In singles, besides appearing in the US Open semi-finals, Ping also won two titles – in Tianjin in 2016 and Nanchang in 2017 – and finished second in seven tournaments.

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In an effort to follow in the footsteps of Li Na, the Chinese teammate and first Grand Slam singles champion from Asia, Peng also reached the fourth round at Wimbledon three times in singles, the fourth round at the two-time Australian Open and the third round at the French Open twice.

Her highest singles ranking was No. 14 in August 2011.

Ping played for China when her country hosted the 2008 Beijing Olympics, as well as at the 2012 London Olympics and the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Games.

She also won three medals when China hosted the Asian Games in Guangzhou in 2010 – gold in singles, team event and bronze in doubles.

Although she has not officially retired, she played her last match in Qatar in February 2020.

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