Birmingham: Zheng Jie of China overcame the rain and an intensive schedule to beat Roberta Vinci 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 and reach the semifinals of the Aegon Classic on Saturday. (Agencies)
Zheng completed the quarterfinal win against the 20th-ranked Italian in the grass-court warm-up for Wimbledon after four sessions of play across two rain-drenched days.
"It was not easy," Zheng said. "The match was played over two days and we had the warm-up 10 times already. Yesterday, after the rain came, I was a little bit nervous."
The rain returned Saturday to delay the second quarterfinal, between former No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia and Misaki Doi of Japan.
Zheng has recovered from two wrist operations and she has endured more than her share of difficulties this week.
The 2008 Wimbledon semifinalist had to play in the qualifying competition because her entry was placed late. Then when she seemed likely to make smooth progress on Friday, leading 6-3, 5-3, three weather delays broke her rhythm.
The extra demands of a schedule in which Zheng has played five matches so far, more than anyone else, looked to have taken its toll when Vinci won five games in a row to lead 1-0 in the deciding set.
Vinci, however, double-faulted twice because of the strong wind, allowing Zheng to break and lead 2-1. The Chinese saved a break point to hold a 5-3 advantage and closed out the match on her next service game.
"I am just happy to win," Zheng said. "I really wanted to win because this is the first time I have been in the semifinals in Birmingham and also I really like to play on grass. So yeah, I keep fighting."
Birmingham: Zheng Jie of China overcame the rain and an intensive schedule to beat Roberta Vinci 6-3, 5-7, 6-4 and reach the semifinals of the Aegon Classic on Saturday.