Peng is in the second round of the Grand Slams for the first time since 2014
Peng Shuai’s sensational run to the third round of the Australian Open came under fire from state media in China.
Walking out to the Grandstand in Melbourne – as her seven Grand Slam titles, seven WTA Tour titles and three French Open finals did before – the 25-year-old was jeered by some spectators.
Peng won her way through the first round and is in second place at Melbourne Park with a 4-0 record.
And Chinese state media claimed that “blind tourists are already using their phones to take pictures of her”.
“These phones have huge cameras to make heady images of the Ping-pong champion,” an article on the People’s Daily website added.
The state-run news agency Xinhua also said it was “astonished at the widespread criticism” of Peng, comparing her to Chinese tennis legend Li Na.
It claimed that Li, who was ranked number one in the world in 2011, did not have any success at the Grand Slams in the five years before reaching the Australian Open final in 2012.
“It is rather strange that there is such harsh criticism of Peng,” said Xinhua.
Peng, winner of the Australian Open women’s doubles in 2009 and doubles and mixed doubles in 2016, beat 16th seed Ashleigh Barty to set up a match against Croatian Mirjana Lucic-Baroni.