Zhang Zhizhen made more history on Sunday when he became the first Chinese player to reach the fourth round at the Rolex Shanghai Masters in the history of the ATP Masters 1000 event. The World No. 60 overcame 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals champion Brandon Nakashima 7-6(2), 6-2.
Competing on home soil, Zhang struck 18 winners and saved the one break point he faced to advance after one hour and 25 minutes. He also clinched seven consecutive points in the first-set tie-break to lead.
“I didn’t even know I won seven points in a row,” Zhang said. “I just tried to go point by point. It was a very tough match because I couldn’t find any chance on his serve until the second set. I had to be patient and I’m glad I broke him in the end. I’m pretty happy.”
Zhang became the first ATP Masters 1000 quarter-finalist from China in May in Madrid and in July rose to No. 52 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings, the highest position ever held by anyone from the East Asian country. He beat Casper Ruud at the US Open to become the first Chinese man to beat a Top 5 opponent.
Now into the fourth round at the hard-court event, the 26-year-old will aim to continue his historic run when he plays 16th seed Hubert Hurkacz. Earlier this week Zhang defeated Richard Gasquet and Tomas Martin Etcheverry.