Zhang Zhizhen first Chinese man to qualify for the main draw in Open era
Zhang Zhizhen is No.178 in the world and the only Chinese man in the sport’s top 250
Zhang Zhizhen made history on Thursday at Wimbledon as the 24-year-old beat Buenos Aires finalist Francisco Cerundolo 6-0, 6-3, 6-7(4), 7-6(6) to reach his first major main draw and become the first Chinese man to make the main draw at The Championships in the Open Era.
Zhang Zhizhen is No.178 in the world and the only Chinese man in the sport’s top 250. While China supplied plenty of competitors in the gentlemen’s singles from the 1920s to the 1950s, Zhang will be the first man from his country to feature at the grass-court tournament since 1959, according to Wimbledon’s official website. He is also only the fourth Chinese man to play singles in the main draw of a Grand Slam since the Open era began in 1968, with the others being Wu Di at the Australian Open in 2013, 2014, and 2016, Zhang Ze at the Australian Open in 2014 and 2015, and Li Zhe at the 2019 Australian Open.
Away from Melbourne Park, the Chinese men hadn’t fared so well until this week – this was a breakthrough moment for Zhang. China has had some success in women’s tennis in recent years, with Li Na winning Roland-Garros in 2011, as well as the Australian Open in 2014, and also gaining membership of Wimbledon’s Last Eight Club as a quarter-finalist.