Chinese players Zhang Zhizhen and Wang Yafan triumph in first round of 2024 French Open

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Zhang Zhizhen

27th May 2024 – (Prague) Chinese tennis stars Zhang Zhizhen and Wang Yafan made a successful start to their 2024 French Open campaigns on Sunday, both advancing past the first round with impressive victories.

In the men’s singles, Zhang battled against Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic in a gruelling match, ultimately emerging victorious with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 scoreline. Despite dropping the second set, Zhang displayed resilience and increased his aggressiveness on serve to secure the win in four sets.

Reflecting on his performance, world No. 44 Zhang emphasized the importance of patience and seizing opportunities. He will now face Italy’s Lorenzo Sonego, who caused an upset by defeating French 17th seed Ugo Humbert.

This triumph marked Zhang’s second consecutive year winning a main draw singles match at the French Open, showcasing his progress on clay courts. Last year, he made an impressive run to the quarterfinals of the ATP 1000 Madrid Masters and reached the third round of the French Open, setting a record for Chinese male players in a clay-court Grand Slam.

While Zhang had a slow start in this season’s clay tournaments, he regained his form at the Rome Masters, reaching the quarterfinals once again. His victory at the French Open demonstrates his readiness to compete against top-level opponents.

In the women’s singles, Wang Yafan secured her first-ever main draw victory at the French Open in her sixth appearance. She faced Russia’s Maria Timofeeva and dominated the match with a 6-3, 6-3 win. Wang took an early lead by breaking Timofeeva’s serve and maintained her advantage throughout the first set. Despite falling behind 0-3 in the second set, she quickly adjusted her strategy, winning six consecutive games to seal the match.

Expressing her joy and newfound confidence, Wang highlighted the significance of moving on to the second round at Roland Garros for the first time. The 30-year-old player credited her patience and ability to identify the right moments to attack as crucial factors in her victory.

Looking ahead to her second-round match, Wang acknowledged the challenge posed by her opponent, 30th seed Dayana Yastremska from Ukraine. She emphasised the importance of focusing on her own game and adapting quickly to ensure a competitive performance.

In other notable matches, two-time French Open quarterfinalist Andrey Rublev showcased his resilience by swiftly recovering from dropping the second set to secure a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-5 triumph against Taro Daniel in the first round