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Zhang and Wang reach the 2nd round at French Open

Chinese players kicked off their 2024 French Open campaigns with a winning start on Sunday as both Zhang Zhizhen and Wang Yafan advanced past the first round.

Zhang defeated Australia’s Aleksandar Vukic 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 7-5 in the men’s singles, while Wang defeated Russia’s Maria Timofeeva 6-3, 6-3 in the women’s singles.

Zhang Zhizhen of China makes a return during the men’s singles first round match between Zhang Zhizhen of China and Aleksandar Vukic of Australia at the French Open tennis tournament at Roland Garros, Paris, France, May 26, 2024. (Xinhua/Meng Dingbo)

When Zhang faced world number 89 Vukic for the first time, he showed resilience. After dropping the second set, the world number 44 increased his aggressiveness on serve, ultimately securing the match in four sets.

β€œIt was crucial to stay patient and wait for my opportunities,” said Zhang after the match.

Zhang will next face Italian Lorenzo Sonego, who stunned French 17th seed Ugo Humbert.

This victory marked the second consecutive year that Zhang won a main draw singles match at the French Open. Last year he made a major breakthrough on the red sand by reaching the quarter-finals of the ATP 1000 Madrid Masters and the third round of the French Open, setting a record for Chinese male players in a Grand Slam on clay.

Despite a slow start in this season’s clay court tournaments, Zhang regained his form at the Rome Masters and reached the quarterfinals again.

Meanwhile, Wang finally earned her first main-draw victory in her sixth appearance at the French Open.

“It feels great to advance to the second round at Roland Garros for the first time. This win gives me a lot of confidence,” said Wang.

Wang started strong against Timofeeva, breaking serve early and maintaining her lead, taking the first set 6-3. Despite trailing 0–3 in the second set, Wang quickly adjusted her strategy and won six consecutive games to win the match.

“I was more patient today, which allowed me to find the right moments to attack,” said the 30-year-old Wang.

“I haven’t played her before, but I’ve seen some of her matches. The key will be to focus on my own game and adapt quickly,” the Chinese said of her second-round opponent , Dayana Yastremska of Ukraine, who finished as the 30th seed. .

In other action, two-time quarterfinalist Andrei Rublev recovered quickly from dropping the second set to seal a 6-2, 6-7(3), 6-3, 7-5 first-round victory against Taro Daniel.