Chinese players have accomplished one upset after another at the ongoing US Open.
In the hard-court tennis Grand Slam tournament, Zhang Zhizhen became the first man from the Chinese mainland to beat a player in the top five of the ATP rankings as he pulled off a resilient display of tennis skills to prevail against World No.5 Casper Ruud of Norway 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 on Wednesday night.
Thanks to his powerful serves (18 aces) and punishing forehand that overwhelmed Ruud with a whopping 60 winners overall, Zhang made it to the third round of the tournament, a new breakthrough in his personal career.
“That was a wild ride,” US Open official Twitter commented on Zhang’s surprise victory over the 2022 US Open runner-up. Rudd had been to the finals in three of the last six Grand Slam events.
The 26-year-old also avenged his loss to Rudd in the third round of the French Open in June. Zhang will face Rinky Hijikata of Australia in the third round. His opponent, Ruud, believes he can keep on going. “I was impressed, in a way, how he played,” Ruud said. “He’s going to be a threat for many years.”
“Last year at the US Open, I can say it was a bad memory. But this year is a little bit different,” said Zhang after the match.
“At the end of the match, when I finished the last point, I didn’t really celebrate, as if I was not super happy. But I was happy inside, it just didn’t show.”
Liu Yu, a Beijing-based sports commentator, told the Global Times that Zhang has been improving, especially after he hired Lu Yen-hsun, a retired player from Taiwan island, to join his team. Liu said he looks forward to seeing Zhang representing China at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
Should Zhang reach the fourth round, he will have a chance to become the first Chinese man to crack the Top 50 of the ATP Rankings.
Zhang is not the only Chinese that stunned a seeded player as Zhu Lin moved into the third round after breezing past Victoria Azarenka of Belarus 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s singles.