TENNIS

Zhang's fairytale run in Beijing comes to an end

PUBLISHED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 11:24am
UPDATED : Friday, 05 October, 2012, 4:35pm

Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze’s fairytale run at the China Open came to an end on Friday when he suffered a straight-sets defeat to Germany’s Florian Mayer in the quarter-finals.

The 22-year-old, ranked 165th in the world, made history in the last 16 when he became the first Chinese man ever to beat a top 20 player, dumping out France’s Richard Gasquet.

His defeat of the Frenchman, ranked 14th, also meant Zhang was the first men’s player from China to reach the quarter-final of an ATP event since Pan Bing made the semi-finals in Seoul in 1995.

But matching Pan’s 17-year-old mark proved a step too far for Zhang, with world number 29 Mayer winning 6-3, 6-4.

The six foot two inches ( right-hander from Nanjing has enjoyed a rapid rise up the rankings this year.

Recently he became the highest ranked men’s player in Chinese tennis history, moving from 292nd at the start of the year to 165th currently. Pan’s highest ranking was 176.