© Mary Grace Grabill

Zhizhen Zhang at the 2023 Phoenix Challenger.

Zhang Survives Rain, Hijikata To Advance At Phoenix Challenger

Gasquet makes winning start

Despite rain cancelling much of Wednesday’s action, Chinese star Zhang Zhizhen rallied from a set down to advance to the second round of the Arizona Tennis Classic, where he will next clash against fourth seed Alexander Bublik.

The star-studded action got underway four hours after initially scheduled, but the World No. 93 Zhang prevailed against lucky loser Rinky Hijikata 6-7(4), 6-3, 6-4 before heavy rain again halted play at the Phoenix Challenger.

ATP Challenger Tour 

Only two other matches were completed in Wednesday’s opening-round action. Third seed Richard Gasquet downed American qualifier Emilio Nava 7-6(5), 6-3 and Mikael Ymer defeated Radu Albot 6-1, 7-5.

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When rain cancelled play at around 7:30 p.m., Gael Monfils and Alexander Shevchenko were locked in a three-set battle. Shevchenko, 22, advanced through qualifying and was leading the French wild card 6-4, 6-7(2), 2-0 when the match was suspended.

Boasting a strong field at the all-new Challenger 175 category, the Arizona Tennis Classic will feature top seed Matteo Berrettini against Ilya Ivashka on Thursday.

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