Chinese ATP star makes national history with rankings milestone
Zhizhen Zhang has confirmed his spot inside the ATP top 100, becoming the man from China man to achieve the feat.
The moment looked on the cards after Zhang reached the quarter-finals of the ATP 250 Napoli Cup. In doing so, the qualifier broke into the top 100 in the live rankings. However, after the 26-year-old lost to Mackenzie McDonald 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, other results would confirm or deny the achievement.
“I think it is a tough road to be Top 100,” Zhang said after making it to the last eight. “I’m so happy for today because I played two matches today and it is a small step, but it’s also a big step for Chinese men’s tennis.”
Losses for Gregoire Barrere, Manuel Guinard and Elias Ymer, mean Zhang will rise to at least 98th in the world come the next rankings update on Monday. Zhang already held the record for the highest ranked male player from China ever with his current ranking of 109th.
Zhang started the year ranked 321st in the world. In July and August he reached three consecutive Challenger finals. Of those he won one in Cordenons, Italy, climbing from 239th to 138th across the three events. In August, he and compatriot Wu Yibing became the first two men from mainland China ever to play in the US Open main draw. Whilst Zhang fell in the first round to Tim van Rijthoven, Yibing reached the third round before losing to Daniil Medvedev.
Behind Zhang, two more Chinese men sit inside the ATP top 200. They are 23-year-old Wu Yibing mentioned before and 17-year-old Shang Juncheng, ranked 115th and 198th respectively.
On the women’s side, two-time Slam champion Li Na is the highest ranked Chinese woman ever. The former pro achieved a career-high of second in the world in February 2014 after claiming her second Major title at that year’s Australian Open.
Moreover, at time of publication seven Chinese women are top 100 WTA pros. Those women are Zhang Shuai, Zheng Qinwen, Wang Xiyu, Zhu Lin, Wang Xinyu, Yuan Yue and Wang Qiang.
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