Match Report

Zhang Edges Norrie To Extend Best ATP Masters 1000 Run

Chinese star was playing in first ATP Masters 1000 third round
May 01, 2023
Zhang Zhizhen celebrates his third win in Madrid after extending his dream debut in the Spanish capital.
Corinne Dubreuil/ATP Tour
Zhang Zhizhen celebrates his third win in Madrid after extending his dream debut in the Spanish capital. By ATP Staff

China's Zhang Zhizhen backed up his upset of Denis Shapovalov with an even bigger win against Cameron Norrie on Monday at the Mutua Madrid Open. Both triumphs came via a third-set tie-break, with the 26-year-old battling back to stun Norrie 2-6, 7-6(2), 7-6(2) and notch his first Top 20 win.

"Before the match I didn't even think I was going to be here in the second week of Madrid," the Shanghai native said after extending his dream debut at the ATP Masters 1000. "Now I made it!

"This is a big victory because it was an amazing match. The first set was tough, I was down 6-2 but I still didn't give up. And then I won two tie-breaks, that's amazing. Normally my tie-breaks is losing one and then win. So today I had two wins, that's unbelievable really."

Zhang, who became the first Chinese player to break into the Top 100 of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings last October, has moved up 10 places to No. 89 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings behind his best run at an ATP Masters 1000 — a mark that would represent a new career high. With a win in his last-16 match against Taylor Fritz, he could rise as high as No. 65.

"Again, a top player for sure, a tough match," Zhang said of the his third straight seeded opponent. "I will try to be my best, try to fight."

Zhang excelled in attack against the 11th-seeded Norrie but also held his own in longer rallies, finishing with 32 winners and 21 unforced errors. Though he did not create a break point, he was rock-solid in both tie-breaks as Norrie misfired. The Briton finished the match with 32 unforced errors, including a few untimely miscues as his opponent piled the pressure down the stretch of the two-hour, nine-minute match.

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Zhang has picked up all three of his tour-level wins this season in the past week, levelling his record at 3-3 behind his Madrid run. He is one win away from a third ATP Tour quarter-final, having reached that stage in 2017 in Shenzhen and last year in Naples, doing so as a qualifier on both occasions.

Norrie, who was off to his best career start on clay courts this season, fell to 12-4 on the surface on the year.

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