Zheng is one of the most successful tennis players from China. She has won four WTA singles titles – Hobart in 2005, Estoril, Stockholm in 2006, and Auckland in 2012. She has also won fifteen doubles titles, eleven of them with Yan Zi including Wimbledon and the Australian Open in 2006. She won the bronze medal in doubles with Yan Zi at the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Her career high doubles ranking is World No. 3. Zheng has reached the singles semi-finals at the 2008 Wimbledon Championships, defeating World No. 1, Ana Ivanovic, in the process, becoming the first Chinese female player to advance to the semi-finals at a Grand Slam. She also advanced to the semi-finals at the 2010 Australian Open.
Zheng graduated from the Sichuan Sports Academy in June 2000.
At Wimbledon in 2008, she gained recognition when she became the first Chinese player ever to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament, defeating then-World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic en route. She donated her winnings to the victims of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake in her native province.
Zheng was coached by Jiang Hong Wei, China's national women's tennis team head coach, but she is now coached by her husband Zhang Yu, who is also her hitting partner. They became close during the period after her severe ankle injury. Zheng is on the advisory staff of Yonex and uses their rackets. She wears clothing by Anta and appears in their advertising campaigns, and she is a Rolex testimonee together with Roger Federer and Ana Ivanovic.
Zheng started playing tennis when she was 10, after she saw her older sister play and thought tennis would be good exercise. At first, it was just for exercise. Zheng was rather small (at 5', 4.5"), and she and her parents were afraid that she would not have a career in the tennis world. (In fact, she was called "xiao bu dier" by her parents, which translates into something along the lines of "small kid." Her stature was no surprise though, for both her parents were short.) They considered her focusing more on her studies, so that if she did not make it in tennis she would be able to get a different job. However, her foreign coach saw potential in her, and told her parents and her something along the lines of, "There are many people in China who read books, but there are few who are national heroes." After that, her parents agreed to allow her to pursue tennis as a profession.
Nearly a year after the Sichuan earthquake that shook her home province, she visited there and brought with her tennis balls and rackets to distribute to the children there.
Zheng Jie keeps in a small vial pieces of her ankle bone that were removed during the ankle surgery of 2007. She says she keeps it because it is a part of her, and that it makes her cherish being able to play tennis again and life in general. She says that although it made her world ranking plunge, it also made her grow up a lot.
In 2009, Zheng Jie separated from the Chinese Tennis Association. Zheng talked about how it protected her in times of injury and when she was not playing well, for the CTA would back her completely and give her medical support. Now she manages her own money, which puts her at risk but also means that successes will be more profitable.
In April 2016 Zheng announced on social media that she had given birth to her first child.
Zheng's game is characterised by consistency, intellect, quick reflexes and fighting spirit. She is not the strongest player, but makes up for this with her careful thinking of where to place her shots and willingness to change game plans if a strategy is not working. Her shots are of a lot of pace and very well placed, making Zheng an excellent defensive counterpuncher. She has one of the best footwork and court coverage on the tour, which allows her to keep shots in play that would normally be winners; so few shots get by her that after the final match of 2005 Hobart International, the finalist Gisela Dulko described her game as 'The Great Wall of China' because 'she didn't miss one ball'. Also an accomplished doubles player, she is very comfortable when playing at the net. Zheng's best shot is her backhand. Zheng's main weakness is her serve; however she is sometimes able to neutralize her weak serve with her quickness or by serving to the body or to the opponent's weaker groundstroke.
In May 2002, she won two successive $25,000 ITF singles tournaments, at Shanghai and Tianjin, right after reaching her first $50,000 tournament quarterfinal, at Fukuoka, Japan. That September, she gained direct entry into a WTA tournament at Shanghai, and reached Round Two before losing to Anna Kournikova. She ended the year as World No. 183.
In 2003, she qualified for Hyderabad and took a love set against Mary Pierce in the main draw first round, only to lose the match in three sets. She also qualified for Doha, but then lost to Lina Krasnoroutskaya.
Later in the year, she defeated Nuria Llagostera Vives in the first round of a $25,000 ITF tournament, Alona Bondarenko in the first round of qualifying for Palermo, and Maria Elena Camerin at another $50,000 ITF event in July, where she reached the quarterfinal; but it was in August at Bronx that she won her first $50,000 tournament, beating Shenay Perry, Jamea Jackson, Akiko Morigami, Adriana Serra Zanetti and (in the final) Maria Kirilenko to this end.
Although Kirilenko avenged this defeat in qualifying at the US Open, Zheng proceeded to qualify for Bali in September with victories over Yan Zi and Yuka Yoshida. She then defeated Flavia Pennetta in the first round of the main draw before bowing out to Tamarine Tanasugarn.
However, the very next month she defeated Tanasugarn at the Japan Open, where she reached her first WTA semifinal before losing to Maria Sharapova.
At the end of October, she reached another WTA quarterfinal at Quebec City with a second-round win over Antonella Serra Zanetti before losing in three sets to Laura Granville.
In December, she was a losing finalist at two successive $50,000 tournaments, falling in three sets to countrywoman Peng Shuai at Changsha (after victories over Sesil Karatantcheva, Camille Pin and Aiko Nakamura) and, also in three sets, to the same Sesil Karatantcheva (after beating Sun Tiantian in the semifinal) at Shenzhen. Consequently, Zheng broke into the World Top 100, with a year-end ranking of 93.
The following year brought further improvements in her singles results. She reached the quarterfinals at Hyderabad and Doha (where she comfortably beat Jelena Dokić in Round Two), and the second round at Miami and Vienna (where she beat Lisa Raymond). Then at the French Open, playing only her second Grand Slam singles main draw (after gaining direct entry to the Australian Open but losing in the first round), she defeated Dally Randriantefy, Émilie Loit, and Tathiana Garbin in succession to reach the fourth round, where she lost to Paola Suárez. She was the first Chinese women to reach the fourth round of a Grand Slam.
At the Olympics in Athens, she lost her first round match to Ai Sugiyama. In September, she won a $25,000 ITF tournament at Beijing, defeating Yan Zi in the semifinal and Li Na in the final. She later made it to the finals in a $50,000 tournament in Shenzhen, before losing to fellow countrywomen Peng Shuai. Zheng ended the year world-ranked 67.
Zheng started 2005 by capturing her first WTA singles title at Hobart, after wins over Mariana Díaz Oliva, Shinobu Asagoe, Klara Koukalová, Li Na and Gisela Dulko.
She qualified for Dubai with wins over Sandra Kleinová, Maria-Elena Camerin and Virginia Ruano-Pascual, and went on to defeat Anabel Medina Garrigues in the main draw before succumbing to Lindsay Davenport. Dulko gained her revenge in the quarterfinal at Estoril in April.
But Zheng remained in fine form, and reached her second WTA final at Rabat, Morocco in May, losing to Nuria Llagostera Vives after wins over Catalina Castaño, Maureen Drake and Tathiana Garbin, followed by a walk-over against Na Li who had to retire at 3–3 from an ankle sprain.
A three-set loss to Francesca Schiavone in the first round of the French Open prevented Zheng from defending her ranking points accrued there the previous year. In August, she reached the second round at Los Angeles by again beating Shinobu Asagoe, the Canadian Open quarterfinal (with wins over María Emilia Salerni and Ai Sugiyama), and another quarterfinal at New Haven (after defeating Katarina Srebotnik and Émilie Loit in qualifying, and Jamea Jackson in the main draw, though she was assisted by entering the tournament with a first-round bye and as a lucky loser in the final-round of qualifying to Jelena Kostanić).
At the end of the month, she advanced to the second round at the US Open by defeating Iveta Benešová. Further first-round wins in September over María Vento-Kabchi (at Bali) and Jelena Janković (at Beijing) could not be consolidated on in subsequent rounds of the respective tournaments; but at Guangzhou, the last tournament she would play all year, she reached the semifinal with wins over Carly Gullickson, Jamea Jackson and Maria Kirilenko, before suffering her second loss of the year to Nuria Llagostera Vives. This string of results lifted her to a career-high world ranking of 42 in early October 2005.
2006 started poorly for Zheng in singles, with a string of six successive first-round losses dipping her ranking to World No. 56 by the end of February. However, after a first round loss in Indian Wells, her 2006 singles breakthrough came at Key Biscayne, Florida where she reached the quarterfinals with wins over Nathalie Dechy and Anna-Lena Grönefeld before falling to Tatiana Golovin.
Zheng's new found confidence earned a title at her next tournament in Estoril, where she defeated top-seeded Flavia Pennetta en route to the final before a victory over compatriot Li Na who was forced to retire at one set each. In Strasbourg, Zheng displayed yet reached the quarterfinals where she lost to second-seeded Czech Nicole Vaidišová.
In August, Zheng won the tournament in Stockholm without dropping a set. In the final, she defeated the top seed and former World No. 2 Anastasia Myskina. A knee injury hampered Zheng's singles progress towards the end of 2006. Her US Open ended in a second round defeat by Anastassia Rodionova and her last competitive match of the season saw her worst loss in terms of rankings, where she fell in the second round of Zurich qualifying to World No. 139 Joanna Sacowicz of Poland.
However, in December, Zheng took part in the Asian Games in Doha, Qatar. After a surprising first round loss in the team event, she went into the singles competition as the second seed. She ended up winning the gold medal, with victories over Shikha Uberoi, Chan Yung-jan, Aiko Nakamura and Sania Mirza. She also took gold in doubles with partner Yan Zi, defeating Yung Jan Chan and Chuang Chia-jung of Chinese Taipei. To end 2006, Zheng won the Chinese National Championships, with a three set victory over her doubles partner in the final.
2007 started well for Zheng, where she reached a second Hobart quarterfinal before losing to eventual champion Anna Chakvetadze.
At the Australian Open, Zheng put in an extremely disappointing performance, losing to then 97th ranked Julia Schruff of Germany after holding match point on more than one occasion. In doubles, her title defense with Yan Zi ended in the semifinals with a defeat by Yung Jan Chan and Chia Jung Chuang of Chinese Taipei – the same partnership which they managed to defeat in the final of the Doha Asian Games just one month previously.
Zheng competed in both the singles and doubles (with Yan Zi) of the French Open. At the beginning of the tournament, she sustained an ankle injury, hampering her performance. She was knocked out in the first round of the singles competition by Timea Bacsinszky, and also lost in the first round in the doubles portion.
The ankle injury sustained at the French Open ruled her out of Wimbledon to defend her doubles title. She withdrew from all events for the rest of the year because of the ankle injury. Her ranking suffered as a result, ending the year ranked World No. 163.
Zheng Jie's return to the tour was successful; in singles, she won two qualifying matches in Gold Coast before losing to Alisa Kleybanova. In doubles, she and Zi Yan reached the final, only to lose to the third seeds, Safina and Szávay. However, in Sydney, the duo won the title, beating second seeds Sugiyama and Srebotnik and reigning US Open champions Dechy and Safina along the way. At the Australian Open, the duo made it to the seminfinals, beating the Williams sisters along the way, before losing to the 12th seeds Peer and Azarenka.
Zheng qualified for the main draw of the French Open, and then reached the third round before losing to Russia's Dinara Safina.
Zheng's breakthrough in women's tennis occurred at Wimbledon. Despite only being ranked World No. 133, Zheng was given a wild card into the main draw. In the third round, she defeated the first seed and World No. 1 Ana Ivanovic. This was her first victory against a top 10 player. Zheng then beat Ágnes Szávay of Hungary, the 15th seed, in the fourth round, and 18th-seeded Nicole Vaidišová of the Czech Republic in the quarterfinals. This made Zheng the first Chinese women's tennis player ever to reach the semifinals of a Grand Slam singles tournament. She also became the first wild card to reach the semifinals of the women's singles at Wimbledon. In the semifinals, Zheng lost to two-time Wimbledon champion and former World No. 1 Serena Williams. Zheng's strong Wimbledon performance elevated her ranking from World No. 133 to World No. 40.
She donated her prize money from the tournament and spent time helping the victims and post-reconstruction effort of the 12 May earthquake that killed nearly 70,000 people and left 5 to 10 million homeless in her home province Sichuan. She did the same with her French Open prize money earlier in the year.
In August 2008, Zheng competed for China in both singles and doubles at the Beijing Olympics. In the singles portion, Zheng made it to the third round before losing to sixth-seeded Dinara Safina of Russia, who eventually won the singles silver medal. Zheng had better results in doubles with her partner Yan Zi, where they were seeded eighth. After losing in the semifinals to the fourth-seeded Spanish team of Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual for a spot in the gold medal final, they won the bronze medal match against the Ukrainian sisters team of Alona and Kateryna Bondarenko. This was the second Olympics tennis medal ever won by China.
After the Olympics, Zheng entered the US Open. She advanced to the third round before losing a tight match to second-seeded Jelena Janković of Serbia.
Zheng was seeded third in the Tier III Guangzhou International Open held in September and made it to the semifinals before losing to top-seeded Vera Zvonareva.
Ranked World No. 30, Zheng returned in September to Beijing for the China Open Tier II tournament. She advanced to the semifinals before losing to World No. 7 and fourth-seeded Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Based on her strong China Open performance, Zheng became Asia's highest ranked women's singles player at World No. 26, her highest to-date career WTA singles ranking. She later reached World No. 23 on 20 October 2008.
In March 2009, Zheng was awarded the WTA Tour "Comeback of the Year" Award for 2008, as she rebounded from an injury-marred 2007.
In January at the Australian Open, Zheng was seeded 22nd in women's singles. She advanced to the Round of 16 and faced 8th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia. Zheng trailed 1–4 in the opening set, but was forced to retire with a left wrist injury after hitting the court while reaching for a ball. This was the furthest that Zheng progressed at women's singles at this tournament in her career. In the doubles event, she and her partner Yan Zi were eliminated in the third round, by Nuria Llagostera Vives and María José Martínez Sánchez.
Zheng returned to at the Barclays Dubai Tennis Championships, and made it to the third round before losing to World No. 1 Serena Williams. She and her partner, Yan Zi, lost in the first round in doubles to the Bondarenko sisters. Seeded 4th at the 2009 Monterrey Open, she made it to the semifinals before losing to No. 2 seed Marion Bartoli. After this result, she created her highest world ranking of no. 17 at that time. Zheng was seeded 17th at the Sony Ericsson Open. She advanced to the Round of 16 before losing to Serena Williams in three sets. Zheng's strong performance helped her to reach world No. 16, the highest ranking ever by a Chinese tennis player (Li Na had also reached world No. 16 in 2007).
At the Internazionali BNL d'Italia, Zheng lost to World No. 1 Dinara Safina in three sets. At the Madrid Open, Zheng fell to Amélie Mauresmo in the second round. Despite the loss, on 18 May, Zheng became the highest-ranked Chinese player in history, at No. 15. At the 2009 French Open, Zheng (seeded 15th) progressed to the second round before losing Michelle Larcher de Brito in straight sets. At the 2009 Aegon Classic at Birmingham, the first tournament on grass, Zheng was the top seed but lost to the eventual champion Magdaléna Rybáriková in the third round. Next at the 2009 Aegon International. Zheng advanced to the second round before losing to Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak.
Seeded 16th at the 2009 Wimbledon Championships, Zheng was upset in the second round by Daniela Hantuchová in straight sets. As she was a semifinalist the previous year, Zheng's ranking fell out of the top twenty to World No. 24. Zheng's next tournament was the LA Women's Tennis Championships as part of her US Open Series campaign. She advanced to the 4th round before losing to 13th seeded Samantha Stosur in three sets. At the Toronto, Zheng advanced to the third round before losing to Lucie Šafářová. At the 2009 US Open, Zheng, who was seeded 21, advanced to the third round before losing in straight sets to the number 13 seed, Nadia Petrova. Zheng ended the year with a 28–22 singles record and she finished the year ranked World No. 36.
Zheng began her tour season at the Moorilla Hobart International, where she made it to the quarterfinals before losing to the eventual tournament champion Alona Bondarenko. Zheng was unseeded at the 2010 Australian Open, the first Grand Slam of the year. After three set wins over Peng Shuai, María José Martínez Sánchez and Marion Bartoli, as well as a straights sets fourth round win over Alona Bondarenko, Zheng made Australian open history by becoming the first Chinese player to reach an Australian Open semifinal when she took out unseeded Maria Kirilenko in the quarter-finals. In the semi-final match, she lost to former World No.1 and 2004 champion Justine Henin. Zheng next competed at the Dubai Tennis Championships as the sixteenth seed, but was upset in the first round by Alicia Molik in three sets. Next competing at the first-ever Malaysian Open, Zheng reached the second round as the third seed, where she was defeated by Chang Kai-Chen. However, Zheng won the doubles title at the event with Chan Yung-jan, defeating Anastasia and Arina Rodionova in a championship tie-break.
Zheng next competed at the 2010 BNP Paribas Open, where she was seeded eighteenth. She advanced to the quarterfinals before losing to No. 2 seed Caroline Wozniacki. In doubles, Zheng and Chan reached the semifinals of the tournament. Zheng next competed at the Sony Ericsson Open, but lost in her second-round match to Virgine Razzano. She and doubles partner Chan Yung-jan reached the semifinals. Zheng was seeded fifth at the 2010 Polsat Warsaw Open, where she reached the finals of the singles before losing to the defending champion, Alexandra Dulgheru. She also advanced to the semifinals of the doubles event of the tournament.
Zheng was seeded 26th at the 2010 French Open and reached the second round before losing to Anastasia Pivovarova. Zheng began her grass court season at the 2010 Aegon International, where she was unseeded. She advanced to the second round before losing to British wildcard Elena Baltacha. At Wimbledon, Zheng was the 23rd seed, but lost in the second round to Petra Kvitová, who herself made it to the semifinals.
Zheng was unseeded at the 2010 Bank of the West Classic in Stanford, where she was defeated by Maria Sharapova in the first round. In doubles, she reached the final where she lost a close three set match to Leizel Huber and Lindsay Davenport. At her next tournament in San Diego, Zheng reached the second round before losing to Daniela Hantuchová. In consolation, Zheng partnered with Maria Kirilenko to win her second doubles title of the year, defeating second seeded Lisa Raymond and Rennae Stubbs in the final. Her next singles tournament was the 2010 Western & Southern Financial Group Women's Open, where Zheng lost to the eleventh-seed Flavia Pennetta in the first round. In doubles, Jie teamed with Yung-jan Chan and made it to the quarterfinals. Next playing at the 2010 Rogers Cup, Zheng reached the quarterfinals before losing to Svetlana Kuznetsova in straight sets.
Zheng next competed at the 2010 US Open in singles and doubles. In singles, Zheng was the 21st seed. However, she was upset in the second round by a resurgent Ana Ivanovic. In doubles, she and Yung-jan Chan reached the semifinals before losing to Nadia Petrova and Liezel Huber. Following the tournament Zheng withdrew from all scheduled tournaments citing a wrist injury, which kept her off of the tour until February 2011.
Zheng was scheduled to compete at the Hong Kong Tennis Classic exhibition tournament in Team Asia-Pacific alongside Li Na and Mark Philippoussis, as well as competing as the third seed at the 2011 Moorilla Hobart International. Zheng hadn't rehabilitated from her wrist injury sufficiently, and withdrew from both tournaments, as well as the Australian Open, where she was a semi-finalist in 2010.
Jie made a return to the tour at the 2011 PTT Pattaya Open in Thailand. She was seeded seventh but was defeated by Akgul Amanmuradova in the first round 6–4, 7–6(6).
Zheng next competed at the 2011 Dubai Tennis Championships. In the first round, Zheng defeated Kristina Barrois 6–3, 2–6, 6–4. In the second, she was defeated by Patty Schnyder, 1–6, 6–0, 6–2. At the 2011 Qatar Ladies Open, Zheng was trounced by Flavia Pennetta 6–2, 6–2. Zheng next played at the 2011 BNP Paribas Open, where she was a quarter-finalist in 2010. Zheng continued her string of losses, falling 6–3, 6–2 to Sofia Arvidsson.
At the 2011 Sony Ericsson Open, Zheng won a tough three-setter over Sorana Cîrstea, 6–3, 6–7, 6–3. Zheng lost to her next opponent, the fourth seed and World No. 4 Samantha Stosur, 6–2, 6–1. Her next event was the 2011 Family Circle Cup in Charleston. In the first round, Zheng defeated qualifier Mónica Puig 3–6, 7–6(10),7–5 in a match lasting over three hours. In the next round she faced seeded Yanina Wickmayer for the first time, losing 6–4 6–0.
Zheng then competed at the 2011 Estoril Open as the seventh seed. Her first-round opponent was Italian Romina Oprandi, who won the match 6–4, 6–2.
Zheng then played in a qualification tournament for the first time since 2008 at the 2011 Internazionali BNL d'Italia, as the second seed. She lost in the second round of qualifying to Anastasia Rodionova 6–3, 2–6, 5–7. However, Zheng reached the main draw as a lucky loser, but lost to the wildcard Alberta Brianti 6–4, 7–5. Next playing in Brussels, Zheng lost to Ayumi Morita in the first round in three sets; after losing her points from reaching the finals of Warsaw from the previous year, Zheng dropped from No. 47 to world No. 80, her lowest ranking since 2008.
At 2011 French Open, she defeated Sandra Záhlavová in the first round 6–4, 6–3. In the second round Zheng lost to ninth-seeded Petra Kvitová of Czech Republic. Zheng partnered Peng Shuai in doubles, losing in the second round.
Zheng then participated in three grass court tournaments. Firstly at the 2011 Aegon Classic, Zheng lost to Yaroslava Shvedova in a tight first round contest. Zheng then played at the 2011 Aegon International, qualifying for the main draw by beating Ayumi Morita 6–3 6–1, Edina Gallovits-Hall 2–6 6–3 6–1, and finally Melanie Oudin 6–4 6–1. Zheng lost in the first round of the main draw, 6–4 6–4, to Daniela Hantuchová. At the 2011 Wimbledon Championships, Zheng reached the second round for the third consecutive year, beating Zuzana Ondrášková 7–5, 6–0, before losing in disappointing fashion to Japanese qualifier Misaki Doi, 6–3, 6–1. In doubles, Zheng and Peng reached the quarter-finals, losing a tight three set match to eventual champions Květa Peschke and Katarina Srebotnik.
Zheng began her campaign at the US Open Series at the 2011 Citi Open in Maryland, however she was beaten in the first round by Jill Craybas 2–6, 6–3, 6–2. Zheng next made the third round of the 2011 Mercury Insurance Open in San Diego, beating Mirjana Lučić in three sets in the first round, and seeded Roberta Vinci 6–4, 6–2 in the second. In the third, Zheng lost to Daniela Hantuchová 6–2, 4–6, 6–4. Zheng next entered the qualification tournament for the 2011 Rogers Cup. In the first qualification round she defeated Stéphanie Foretz Gacon 6–4, 3–6, 7–6. In the next qualification round Zheng faced Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm for the first time, and by winning that match 6–3, 1–6, 6–3, she qualified for the main draw. In the first round of the main draw Zheng waltzed past fellow qualifier Alberta Brianti 6–2, 6–1, setting up a second round match with second seed Kim Clijsters. In the second round, she lost the first set 6–3, however, she proceeded to the third round because Clijsters retired at 2–1 down in the second set due to an abdominal injury. In the third round, Zheng contested a close match with Serena Williams, but eventually lost 4–6, 6–3, 6–3. After a strong performance Zheng leaped from World No. 82 to No. 65.
Following on from Toronto, Zheng entered the qualification tournament for the 2011 Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati; as the twenty-fourth seed, Zheng overcame Coco Vandeweghe 3–6, 6–2, 7–5 in the first qualification round, setting up a match with twelfth seed Johanna Larsson, who she overwhelmed 6–1, 6–2 to qualify for the main draw. In the first round she faced Julia Görges, and won that match 6–2, 1–6, 6–4. In the second round she lost to Jelena Janković in three sets. At the 2011 US Open, Zheng overcame Vitalia Diatchenko in the first round before losing in three sets to Andrea Petkovic.
Zheng played a tournament in her native China for the first time in two years at the 2011 Guangzhou International Women's Open, where she was unseeded. She defeated sixth seeded Alberta Brianti, Noppawan Lertcheewakarn and fourth seeded Petra Martić before losing to Magdaléna Rybáriková in the semifinals. Zheng plays next at the 2011 Toray Pan Pacific Open in Japan, where she fell to qualifier Coco Vandeweghe after a tough three-setter in the first round.
Zheng received a wildcard into the 2011 China Open. In the first round she beat Alberta Brianti, although Brianti was leading 4–0 in the deciding set. In the second round she lost to Agnieszka Radwańska 6–1, 6–4.
Zheng played her final event of the season at the HP Open in Osaka. She amazingly won her first match versus Zuzana Kučová 6–1, 6–1 and after that the beat fifth-seeded Australian Jarmila Gajdošová 7–5, 6–3 to reach the quarterfinals, which had to be postponed because of rain. After a one-day delay, Zheng beat Petra Cetkovská 0–6, 7–5, 6–3. Zheng later lost to top-seeded Samantha Stosur 7–6, 3–6, 6–3 in the semifinals. By virtue of this performance, Zheng entered the Top 50, ending the season ranked World no. 48.
Zheng then played an ITF tournament in Taipei as the top seed, but lost in the second round to Yaraslava Shvedova 6–2, 6–2.
At the beginning of the 2012 season, Zheng switched her racquet to the new Yonex EZONE Xi 98 model.
Zheng began the season by winning the 2012 ASB Classic, her first WTA singles title since 2006. The unseeded Zheng defeated Ayumi Morita 4–6, 6–3, 6–4 in the first round before upsetting eighth seed Monica Niculescu in the second, 6–0, 6–2. In the quarterfinals Zheng beat Lucie Hradecká 6–2, 6–3, and third seed Svetlana Kuznetsova 2–6, 6–3, 6–3 in the semifinals. In the final, Zheng defeated fourth seed Flavia Pennetta 2–6, 6–3, 2–0 ret. as the Italian retired due to injury.
Zheng was scheduled to play at the 2012 Moorilla Hobart International, but withdrew due to a right thigh injury. At the 2012 Australian Open, Zheng reached the fourth round, where she was beaten by Sara Errani, with straight sets wins over Madison Keys, Roberta Vinci and Top-10 ranked Marion Bartoli.
Zheng had a disappointing run of results following the Australian Open, failing to win a match until the 2012 BNP Paribas Open where she handily defeated Michaëlla Krajicek having received a first round bye. In the third round, Zheng lost to Li Na 6–1, 6–3. Zheng then reached the third round at the 2012 Sony Ericsson Open, beating Hradecká and Angelique Kerber in straight sets before being obliterated by Dominika Cibulková, 6–2, 6–0.
Zheng began the clay season in Estoril as the fifth seed. In the first round she defeated Ekaterina Makarova 6–3, 6–1, but lost in the second round to Galina Voskoboeva. Zheng then lost in the first round of Madrid, Rome and Brussels to Maria Kirilenko, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Rus, respectively. At the French Open, Zheng was seeded 31st, but lost in the second round to Aleksandra Wozniak.
Zheng chose to begin the grass season in Birmingham, however as she registered late she was forced to qualify for the main draw, which she did by beating both Natalie Grandin and Sandra Zaniewska. Zheng won three matches to reach the quarter-finals, where she defeated fourth-seeded Roberta Vinci in a three set match hampered by multiple rain delays. In the semi-finals Zheng lost to Jelena Janković in three sets.
At Wimbledon, Zheng entered both Ladies' Singles (seeded 25th) and Ladies' Doubles, partnering with compatriot Peng Shuai (unseeded). In the first round singles, she defeated unseeded Canadian Stéphanie Dubois 4–6, 6–4, 6–3. In round 2, Zheng avenged her French Open defeat by Wozniak, another unseeded Canadian, in straight sets 6–4, 6–2. In the third round Zheng lost 6–7 (7–5), 6–2, 9–7 to Serena Williams, who hit a Wimbledon-record 23 aces. In the first round doubles, Zheng and Peng lost to Marina Erakovic and Tamarine Tanasugarn, 6–2, 6–2.
At the 2012 US Open, Zheng lost in the third round to world #1 Victoria Azarenka 6–0, 6–1. In doubles,Zheng decided to partner with Katarina Srebotnik, however they lost in the first round.
Following the US Open, Zheng competed in the Asian swing. Zheng was the second seed in Guangzhou, but lost in the second round to Laura Robson. In Tokyo, Zheng was crushed by Dominika Cibulková 6–0, 6–3 in the second round, while in Beijing Zheng was upset in the first round by Lara Arruabarrena Vecino. In Osaka Zheng was seeded second, but lost to Pauline Parmentier in the second round.
Zheng qualified for the 2012 Qatar Airways Tournament of Champions as a result of the withdrawal of Venus Williams. In the round-robin section of the tournament, Zheng was grouped with Nadia Petrova, Maria Kirilenko and Tsvetana Pironkova. Zheng lost her matches to Petrova and Pironkova, and retired while down in the first set against Sofia Arvidsson, Kirilenko's replacement. Zheng ended the year ranked #26.
Zheng began the year in Auckland in a bid to defend her title at the 2013 ASB Classic. Despite being seeded fourth, Zheng lost in the first round in straight sets to Jamie Hampton. Zheng rebounded in Sydney by defeating sixth-seeded Samantha Stosur in the first round, 6–3, 6–7, 6–4. In the second round she lost to Madison Keys, a qualifier ranked 135, 0–6, 4–6. At the 2013 Australian Open Zheng reached the third round after another win over Stosur in the second round, but she then lost in three sets to Germany's Julia Görges.
Following the Australian Open Zheng struggled with poor results, losing early in Doha, Indian Wells and Miami, resulting in her falling from the Top 50. Zheng began the clay season with early losses in Madrid and Rome, to Svetlana Kuznetsova and Li Na respectively. Zheng's fortunes changed at the 2013 Brussels Open, where she defeated Caroline Wozniacki before losing in the quarterfinals to Romina Oprandi. At the 2013 French Open, Zheng reached the third round for the first time since 2008, but lost to Maria Sharapova in straight sets.
Zheng did not play any warm-up events during the grass court season, instead electing to play her first match on the surface at Wimbledon, where she lost in the first round to Caroline Garcia. This was Zheng's first loss in the first round of a Grand Slam tournament since 2007.
At the 2013 US Open, in the second round Zheng played in what would become one of the longest US Open women's matches in history lasting more than three hours. She wore down Venus Williams with powerful returns and impressive endurance, eventually winning a third-set tiebreaker to take the match 6–3, 2–6, 7–6(7–5). Zheng lost to Carla Suárez Navarro in the third round.
Zheng started the year by losing early in Shenzhen and Hobart. However, she reached the third round at the 2014 Australian Open, defeating twelfth-seeded Roberta Vinci and Madison Keys before losing to Casey Dellacqua. This was then followed by a string of poor results, culminating in a first round loss to Anna Karolina Schmiedlova at the 2014 French Open.
Zheng's fortunes improved during the grass court season. Despite losing in the first round at Birmingham, Zheng then reached of the final of the 2014 Topshelf Open where she was defeated by Coco Vandeweghe. Zheng then defeated Annika Beck in the first round of the 2014 Wimbledon Championships but was then beaten by eleventh seed Ana Ivanovic.
Zheng played just five tournaments after Wimbledon, highlighted by a first round loss to Peng Shuai at the 2014 US Open and a quarterfinal run in Hong Kong.
Zheng played just one singles match in 2015, a first round loss at the 2015 Australian Open to Kai-Chen Chang. However, at the same tournament she and her partner Yung-Jan Chan reached the finals of the women's doubles event, where they were defeated by Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Šafářová in straight sets. Zheng played six further doubles events in 2015, losing in the third round of the 2015 French Open, the final at Eastbourne and the first round at the 2015 Wimbledon Championships.
Zheng has not participated in any professional tennis matches since the 2015 Wimbledon Championships and as a result no longer holds a professional ranking in singles or doubles.
Only Main Draw results in WTA Tour, Grand Slam Tournaments and Olympic Games are included in Win–Loss records. This table is current through the 2013 US Open.
Only Main Draw results in WTA Tour, Grand Slam Tournaments and Olympic Games are included in Win–Loss records. This table is current through the 2013 US Open (tennis).