Hurkacz Edges Home Favourite Zhang To Reach Shanghai QFs

  • Posted: Oct 10, 2023

Hurkacz Edges Home Favourite Zhang To Reach Shanghai QFs

Polish 16th seed faces Marozsan next

Hubert Hurkacz kept his cool under pressure against home favourite Zhang Zhizhen at the Rolex Shanghai Masters to close Tuesday’s play with a 7-6(6), 4-6, 7-6(4) win against the rising Chinese star.

In a match that finished shortly after midnight after two hours, 39 minutes, Hurkacz found his very best tennis in the decisive tie-break to deny Zhang a victory that would have lifted him into the Top 50 in the Pepperstone ATP Live Rankings. Zhang, whose best ATP Masters 1000 result remains his Madrid quarter-final run earlier this season, was bidding to become the first Chinese man to break the Top 50 in the history of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings (since 1973).

“Zhang was playing some really amazing tennis. It was a battle,” said Hurkacz, who wrote “Fight” on the camera lens after the win. “We were both giving it all out there, leaving everything. Hopefully the fans enjoyed that match because I think that was a really high level. If you just left a little bit of space out there, you’re running and fighting from behind.”

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Hurkacz’s win lifted him one place to 15th in the Peperstone Live Race To Turin, moving him ahead of Cameron Norrie and keeping alive his slim hopes of qualifying for the Nitto ATP Finals. The Pole remains 1,155 points behind the eighth-placed Holger Rune.

There were no breaks of serve in the first of final set, with Hurkacz creating the only two break points of either set in the opener. That was in stark contrast to a second set that saw five breaks, including in each of the final three games.

In the decisive tie-break, Hurkacz kept the pressure on Zhang with several well-timed net approaches. He hit a brilliant drop volley to level at 3/3, sparking a run of three straight points that ultimately proved enough to seal the win. A single mini-break was the difference in a well-played tie-break, the quality of which measured up to the match as a whole.

Hurkacz hit 25 forehand winners and 16 aces in the match and won 21 of 26 net points. His overall winners-to-unforced errors count was a pristine 49-17, while Zhang recorded a 40-25 mark.

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Next up for Hurkacz is a quarter-final meeting with Hungary’s Fabian Marozsan, who beat eighth seed Casper Ruud 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-4 earlier on Tuesday. With a win, the Pole will match his best ATP Masters 1000 result of the season: a semi-final showing in Cincinnati.

Did You Know?
Hurkacz has won (29) and played (53) the most tie-breaks on the ATP Tour this season.

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