Boulter arrange her second-round assembly with Zheng by beating one other Chinese language participant in world quantity 61 Yue Yuan within the first spherical.
Boulter, ranked 54th, additionally beat world quantity three Jessica Pegula on the United Cup group occasion at the beginning of the season and got here by way of qualifying to make the Adelaide Worldwide predominant draw.
Zheng managed their first set on Thursday and after Boulter broke serve for a 3-2 lead within the second, the Briton double-faulted twice in blustery circumstances within the subsequent recreation as she gave up the benefit.
The match was then determined in a marathon ninth recreation with Zheng clinching her sixth match level, having saved six Boulter break factors.
Boulter remained optimistic regardless of the defeat.
“This journey has been nice,” the 27-year-old mentioned. “For me, it is about week in, week out enjoying these women, making an attempt to get large wins towards the perfect gamers on this planet.
“It’s a large step in the proper path.
“I do not suppose my tennis is way behind. I believe I had a variety of probabilities, as properly.
“She’s an unimaginable participant with a variety of wins underneath her belt, as properly. So I’ve to issue that in. In the end I really feel like I can problem these women every day.”
Following her singles defeat, Boulter performed within the girls’s doubles alongside Petra Martic, however the two misplaced their first-round match towards fifth seeds Laura Siegemund and Barbora Krejcikova 6-2 6-1.
Within the males’s doubles, Britain’s Henry Patten, enjoying with Portugal’s Francisco Cabral, beat Australian pair Tristan Schoolkate and Adam Walton 6-3 6-7 (6-8) 7-6 (10-4).