US Open: Zhang Zhizhen wins 5-set thriller to reach second round as Chinese players enjoy clean sweep on day 1
Monday sees four victories for Chinese singles stars at Flushing Meadows, with Zhang setting up daunting clash against Casper RuudIn women’s draw, Zhu Lin books second-round date with former world No 1 Victoria Azarenka, as Wang Xiyu and Wang Xinyu also winUS Open (tennis)Nicolas AtkinPublished: 12:30pm, 29 Aug, 2023Why you can trust SCMP
Zhang Zhizhen outlasted home hope J.J. Wolf to break his supposed fifth-set “curse” and reach the second round of the US Open after a 7-5, 7-5, 6-7, 4-6, 6-3 victory, on what was a fruitful opening day for China at Flushing Meadows.
The 26-year-old Zhang looked to be on his way to a quick win after taking the first two sets against the world No 45 Wolf on Court 13, one of the smaller outside venues in Queens, New York.
But the American fought back to level the match, sending it to a decider, with Zhang no doubt feeling a sense of déjà vu, having suffered a series of five-set grand slam defeats over the last few years.
But the world No 67 dug deep and secured the win after more than four and a half hours and set up a daunting clash with last year’s runner-up Casper Ruud.
It was a first US Open main draw win for Zhang – and he was made to work hard for it. He had led 3-0 in the third set, and again at 4-3 and 5-4, only to be dragged back into a tiebreak by Wolf.