Zhang beats Gasquet at Rolex Shanghai Masters
Asian Games champion Zhang Zhizhen and Chinese wild carder Bu Yunchaokete advanced to the second round of the Rolex Shanghai Masters, which is being held at Qizhong Tennis Center in Minhang District.
Shanghai native Zhang has just returned from Hangzhou, where he played eight games in singles and doubles competitions and pocketed the singles championship.
Taking on world 46th ranked Richard Gasquet in his first-round match in Shanghai, Zhang had a strong start breaking the Frenchman three times to clinch the first set 6-1 in 25 minutes.
Gasquet asked for a medical break in the interval, but could not bring up a real challenge for the red-hot Zhang, who fired four aces in a row in the seventh game of the second set for a 5-2 advantage.
Zhang then went on to break his 37-year-old opponent again and sealed his victory in 54 minutes.
"I'm very happy even now after the dinner, because I've never won in Shanghai," Zhang said at the post-match press conference.
"I was super super nervous before the match. Though people around me didn't give me pressure, I know there is a lot of expectation as I'm playing at home."
Zhang said he took a few days of recovery exercise instead of tense training after returning to Shanghai from Hangzhou.
"It's cooler and more comfortable here" he said. "I know my opponent has some physical issues today, I can tell from his movement. But I just focused on my own match. I hope I can stay till the second week of the competition."
China's top-ranked player will next take on American Brandon Nakashima in the second round.
In an earlier match, China's wild-card holder Bu Yunchaokete defeated his Serbian opponent Miomir Kecmanovic in his ATP Tour debut.
The 21-year-old Xinjiang Autonomous Region native was leading 6-7(6), 6-2, 2-1 when Kecmanovic retired from their first-round clash.
"I feel great, but I don't want to celebrate too much because we didn't finish the third set," Bu said. "When we shook hands, he told me he was sick, so I wished him good luck."
"This is my first ATP Tour, and it's a 1000. I have never been to any 500 or 250. Everyone around you is a top player. Many of them are my idols that I watched during my years of growing up, so I am very happy and excited," Bu added.
Bu will take on Astana finalist Sebastian Korda in the second round.
In other matches, Dusan Lajovic beat Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-6(7). Jaume Munar ousted Chinese wild carder Te Rigele 6-2, 6-4.