TENNIS player Zhang Zhizhen (pic) fought back to become the first Chinese men’s singles champion at the Asian Games since 1994 with victory over Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki yesterday in Hangzhou.
Zhizhen was the first man from China to beat a top-five player last month when he defeated Casper Ruud to reach the last 32 at the US Open.
The 26-year-old from Shanghai also reached the same stage at this year’s French Open and he grabbed his reward for a successful year with a 6-4, 7-6 (9-7) victory over Watanuki in the Hangzhou final.
In front of a roaring home crowd, the 60th-ranked Zhizhen made a slow start and fell 4-1 behind in the first set after being broken twice by 77th-ranked Watanuki.
But he won the next five games to take the first set, then held his serve for 4-3 in a pivotal seventh game in the second.
The pair continued to slug it out into a tiebreak, before Zhizhen converted his third match point and hurled away his racquet in celebration.
Earlier in the day, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Chang Yung-jan won gold in women’s doubles.
The second-seeded pair beat fellow Taiwanese Lee Ya-hsuan and Liang En-shuo 6-4, 6-3. — AFP