WATCH: Zhizhen Zhang continues ‘unbelievable’ run in Madrid with upset win over Cameron Norrie
Cameron Norrie bowed out of the Madrid Open despite not facing a single break point as China’s Zhizhen Zhang battled from a set down to advance to the fourth round.
The British No 1, seeded 11th in the Spanish capital, looked to be cruising when he won four games in a row to take the first set 6-2 and the second looked to be following a similar pattern.
However, the left-hander spurned five break point opportunities and his opponent, ranked 99th in the world, hit back to record a 2-6, 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-2) win to set up a clash with eighth seed Taylor Fritz.
“Before the match I didn’t even think I was going to be here in the second week of Madrid,” Zhang, who also beat Denis Shapovalov, said. “Now I made it!
“This is a big victory because it was an amazing match. The first set was tough, I was down 6-2 but I still didn’t give up. And then I won two tie-breaks, that’s amazing. Normally my tie-breaks is losing one and then win. So today I had two wins, that’s unbelievable really.”
After falling 0-40 down at 2-2 in the second set, Zhang won 27 successive points on serve to establish some rhythm and while he was unable to make inroads on the return, he held his nerve in the tie-breaks.
Despite going 2-1 down in the second set tie-break, Zhang reeled off six consecutive points to send the match to a decider, where neither player backed down on serve.
Another tie-break ensued and it was Zhang who hit the front this time, claiming victory in two hours and nine minutes to reach the last 16 of a Masters 1000 event for the first time.
American Fritz saw off Chile’s Cristian Garin 6-1, 7-6 (7-4) and Zhang is looking forward to his next big challenge.
“Again, a top player for sure, a tough match,” he said. “I will try to be my best, try to fight.”
Second seed Daniil Medvedev hit back from a set down to record a 4-6, 6-1, 7-5 triumph over fellow Russian Alexander Shevchenko.
Fourth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas was also taken the distance before the Greek collected a 7-5, 3-6, 6-3 success over Argentinian 25th seed Sebastian Baez.
“He made it very difficult for me. Honestly, it was demanding in a lot of ways. I had to bring the best out of my game,” Tsitsipas said. “He wasn’t missing much. Of course he’s someone that covers and runs around the court pretty well. He definitely utilised that pretty well against me, being able to navigate himself throughout the entire court with ease, just gliding through the court like a cheetah.”
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