In a monumental clash on the tennis courts of the US Open, Zhang Zhizhen made a statement that reverberated around the tennis world. On Wednesday, he clinched the most significant victory of his career by conquering World No.
5 Casper Ruud in an intense five-set match. As the Flushing Meadows lights gleamed overhead, the Chinese sensation showed tenacity and skill in a gripping match that ended 6-4, 5-7, 6-2, 0-6, 6-2 after a nail-biting three hours and 18 minutes.
With a staggering 59 winners under his belt, Zhang's performance wasn’t just impressive—it was historic. He proudly etched his name in the annals of tennis by becoming the first Chinese man to secure a Top 5 win since the inception of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings in 1973.
Zhang's Rise: Past Challenges and Triumphs
Zhang, currently ranked World No. 67, has already shown his determination this tournament, having battled through five sets against J.J. Wolf in his initial match. His next challenge will be against the formidable Australian player, Rinky Hijikata.
This isn’t the first time Zhang has showcased his prowess in Grand Slam tournaments. Earlier this year, he made it to the third round at Roland Garros. Interestingly, it was Ruud who became the barrier to his progress during that tournament, marking their first Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting.
This recent victory can thus be seen as Zhang settling scores. A year ago, Zhang experienced a crushing defeat at the US Open, missing seven match points and subsequently losing to Tim van Rijthoven of the Netherlands in a pulsating five-setter.
Reflecting on the past, the 26-year-old remarked, "Last year at the US Open, I can say it was a bad memory. But this year is a little bit different." Should Zhang's phenomenal form persist and he makes it to the fourth round, he stands on the brink of yet another historical feat.
He could emerge as the first Chinese male player to penetrate the Top 50 of the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. For those interested in delving deeper into Zhang's journey, an article titled "The Resilience Of Zhang Zhizhen: 'It Couldn't Break Me'" offers an intimate glimpse into his battles on and off the court.
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