Despite a third-round loss at the French Open, Zhang Zhizhen has already made history for Chinese men's tennis.
PARIS, June 3 (Xinhua) -- World No. 71 Zhang Zhizhen of China was defeated by fourth seed Casper Ruud of Norway 4-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4 in the third round of the French Open, failing to continue his run at the clay major which saw him reach a milestone for his country.
Thanks to a withdrawal of Serbia's Dusan Lajovic in the first round and a straight-set victory over Argentina's Thiago Agustin Tirante in the next, 26-year-old Zhang became the first men's singles player from the Chinese mainland to play in the round of 32 at Roland Garros in the Open era.
Next up for Ruud will be the winner between Chile's Nicolas Jarry and Marcos Giron of the United States.
Zhang went into the match strongly as he broke Ruud's first serve to take the upper hand in the first set, winning 6-4. But last year's runner-up recovered in the second, breaking Zhang's serve in the 10th game to level the score.
The 24-year-old Norwegian, eyeing his maiden Grand Slam title after two final appearances, played more aggressively with fewer unforced errors than his Chinese opponent in the last two sets and closed out the match in two hours and 35 minutes.
Earlier on Saturday, women's No. 4 seed Elena Rybakina, who was due to face Spain's Sara Sorribes Tormo in the third round, has announced her withdrawal from the tournament, saying she is "far from being 100 per cent".