Tennis Prose



Grand Slam Agony Continues for Zhang

26 year old Chinese player Zhizhen Zhang is currently at a career high best ATP ranking of 96 in the world. He is the first Chinese man to enter the ATP top 100. But the emotional high of those achievements has been haunted by a second consecutive catastrophic Grand Slam first round loss.

Zhang was defeated in the Australian Open first round today by American Ben Shelton 46 63 62 26 76.

At US Open first round last year Zheng was leading Tim van Rijthoven 63 76 and then had seven match points to earn his first ever Grand Slam main draw win. But Zhang failed to finish the job and subsequently lost to the Dutch player 63 76 67 16 46.

So that is two dreadfully agonizing heartbreaking losses in a row for Zhang in his last two Grand Slam main draw appearances. Will he ever get a first round win and advance to the second round?

Pro tennis can be a bitterly cruel business and nobody understands this better right now than Zhizhen Zhang of China. If there is a bright side to this hardship it’s that Zhang is getting closer to that evasive first Grand Slam match win.

China’s endeavors in the Australian Open main draw this year have had a bright light. Though Yibing Wu also lost first round to Corentin Moutet 75 in the fifth, the 17 year old Chinese player Juncheng Shang, won his first round match as a qualifier, beating Oscar Otte in four sets. Shang, coached by Dante Bottini, the former coach of Nishikori and Dimitrov, will battle American Frances Tiafoe in the second round.

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