Zhang Zhizhen becomes first Chinese player to reach ATP Masters QF in Madrid

May 4, 2023 11:46 am

Zhang Zhizhen scripted history at the Madrid Open as he toppled American Taylor Fritz on Tuesday to become the first player from China to reach an ATP Masters 1000 quarter-final. The 26-year-old’s splendid run of form continued with a 3-6 7-6(5) 7-6(8) defeat of the eighth seed.

Women’s world number two Aryna Sabalenka got the better of unseeded Egyptian Mayar Sherif, but came close to losing it. After losing the opening set before powering back to win 2-6 6-2 6-1. The Belarusian had a forgettable day and made 37 unforced errors in the match, but the Australian Open champion bounced back midway through the second set to win 10 games in a row.

Sherif, who has won one WTA 250 title in her career, was gifted the first game, winning all her points through unforced errors from Sabalenka to break before building a 3-1 lead. The second seed saved a set point at 5-1 but Sherif, playing in her first WTA 1000 quarter-final after beating three seeded players, served out to take the opening set.

The Egyptian took the lead in the second set too before Sabalenka, who was a break down, finally found her groove to break four times and force a decider. The 2021 champion then showed no mercy in the third as she raced into a 5-0 lead before Sherif got on the board.

“Honestly I was just trying to keep fighting and keep playing my game. She played unbelievable tennis. She’s a claycourt specialist and I’m very happy with this win,” Sabalenka said.

In the men’s draw, home favourite and defending champion Carlos Alcaraz swatted aside Alexander Zverev 6-1 6-2 in a repeat of last year’s final as he surged into the quarters. Top seed Alcaraz was in complete control, especially on serve where he did not face a break point, as he cruised into the quarter-finals where he will face Karen Khachanov. If you are interested in Tennis betting visit Nextbet and find good betting odds. 

The Spaniard, who turns 20 this week, improved his record on clay to 16-1 this season as he seeks another double on home soil having won the Barcelona Open last month without dropping a set. But the headlines belonged to 26-year-old Zhang as he made a breakthrough for Chinese men’s tennis. The world number 99 said the thought of going so far had not crossed his mind.