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Zhizhen Zhang makes history at Shanghai Masters

Zhizhen Zhang became the first Chinese player to reach the third round of the Shanghai Masters with a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 win Friday against No. 28 seed Tomas Martin Etcheverry of Argentina.

Zhang saved five of six break points and finished the well-played 2-hour, 28-minute match with 32 winners and 10 unforced errors, compared to 30 and 12 for Etcheverry.

Zhang posted a critical break in the ninth game of the deciding set and converted his third match point to secure his eighth win this season against a top-50 opponent.

“First set I was down, and he had a break,” Zhang said after the match. “I told myself, second set I still have a chance. I just tried to hold my service games and see if I could break him. First set my return was not working well, so I changed my position a bit and I’m happy to win the match of course.”

The 26-year-old Zhang entered the ATP 1000 event ranked No. 60 in the world. He will face Brandon Nakashima in Sunday’s third-round match.

Nakashima delivered a stunning 6-0, 6-2 win over No. 3 seed Holger Rune of Denmark in Friday’s biggest upset. Other seeded players who were knocked out included No. 9 Alexander Zverev of Germany, No. 11 Alex de Minaur of Australia, No. 14 Felix Auger-Aliassime of Canada, No. 17 Lorenzo Musetti of Italy and No. 23 Tallon Griekspoor of the Netherlands.

No. 8 Casper Ruud of Norway, No. 16 Hurbert Hurkacz of Poland and No. 20 Francisco Cerundolo and No. 25 Sebastian Baez of Argentina won their second-round matches, as did three seeded Americans: No. 19 Ben Shelton, No. 26 Sebastian Korda and No. 29 Christopher Eubanks.

It was the first career top-10 victory for Nakashima, who needed only 69 minutes to show Rune the door. Nakashima saved his only break point and finished with more aces (five) than unforced errors (four).

Ruud let an early 4-1 lead slip away but held on for a 7-5, 6-0 triumph against Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka. Ruud will next face Eubanks, who rallied for a 4-6, 6-3, 6-2 win against Germany’s Yannick Hanfmann.

“I’m very happy of course,” Ruud said. “Yoshihito came back in a tough, long first set. These things can happen. Whoever wins a first set like this will feel motivated to keep going in the second.

“I know the feeling myself. You feel like you worked hard for an hour just to lose the set and it feels like you have to climb a mountain to turn the match around. Maybe that’s what happened.”

–Field Level Media

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