BEIJING - Former world number one Ana Ivanovic crashed out of the China Open Friday, beaten by home favourite Zheng Jie in a marathon quarter-final clash.
The French Open champion had fought her way back into the match, taking the second set despite an error-strewn display but could not establish control.
China's world number 30 was quickly into her stride in the third set, breaking the Ivanovic serve in the first game. Despite further breaks for both players, the tenacious Zheng held her nerve to take the decider.
Earlier, the Serbian world number four had wasted two chances to serve for the first set with Zheng taking the tie-break 7-4.
Zheng shocked Ivanovic at Wimbledon, beating the then top seed in the third round before going on to reach the semi-finals but she came into this match saying playing the Serbian on hard courts would be a different challenge.
Ivanovic is part of a group of players behind current number one Serena Williams chasing the top ranking, which also includes the top seed here, Jelena Jankovic.
But she has had a poor run, including her early exit at Wimbledon and a second round defeat at the US Open, and has also been hit by injuries.
Zheng's win means she has matched the best-ever performance by a Chinese player at this tournament, by Peng Shuai, who reached the semi-final of the 2006 China Open.
In other matches, Russia's Vera Zvonareva beat Anabel Medina Garrigues, from Spain, 6-0, 6-1 in just 51 minutes and Svetlana Kuznetsova beat Dominika Cibulkova 6-2, 6-4.
The China Open quarter-finals will be completed Friday, with a clash between top seed Jelena Jankovic and Daniela Hantuchova among the highlights in the women's draw.
On the men's side, second seed Andy Roddick takes on Spain's former world number one Juan Carlos Ferrero.