Beijing, China (4E Sports) – Wild card Ze Zhang, China’s highest-ranked male player in the ATP Tour at No. 165, produced the day’s biggest upset when he stunned 14th-ranked Richard Gasquet, 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, Thursday to reach the quarterfinal round of the China Open.
The 22-year-old Zhang claimed his first win over a Top 20 player by rallying from a 0-2 deficit in the third set, grabbing three of his break points and hitting six aces, for his sixth ATP match victory.
“Today I had no fear,” said Zhang. “I was very much relaxed. I wasn’t that nervous, so I tried my best to play with the utmost performance.”
“I had chances to win this match and I made bad mistakes,” admitted Gasquet, who won the Thailand Open last week. “He’s talented. He plays aggressive and fast, and at the end he played better than me. I didn’t play my best match, but it happens and it’s because he’s talented. He deserves this victory.”
Zhang will next play Florian Mayer of Germany, who defeated Marius Copil, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Feliciano Lopez defeated Yen-Hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei 6-3, 7-6(7) in one hour and 32 minutes to advance against American Sam Querrey, who dismissed Italy’s Andreas Seppi, 6-1, 6-4 in 66 minutes.
World No. 28 Mikhail Youzhny advanced to the Beijing quarterfinal for the fourth time afte beating South Africa’s Kevin Anderson 6-3, 6-3. Next in line for him is third-seeded Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
In the women’s side, world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka and second-ranked Maria Sharapova scored straight-set wins over qualifiers to reach the quarterfinal round.
The second-seed Sharapova was first to advance, winning the first eight games en route to an easy 6-0, 6-2 victory over Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
Unlike Sharapova, the top seed Azarenka had a tough opponent in Russian qualifier Elene Vesnina but still came through with a 6-3, 6-3 triumph after one hour and 32 minutes.
This was the first time that both Azarenka and Sharapova reached the quarterfinals in Beijing since it became a Premier Mandatory event in 2009. Azarenka went out in the early rounds in 2009, 2010 and 2011 while Sharapova fell early in 2009 and 2010 and missed the event in 2011 due to injury.
Fifth seed Angelique Kerber of Germay also made it to the quarterfinal after beating 10th ranked Caroline Wozniacki, 6-1, 2-6, 6-4, together with hometown favorite and seventh seed Li Na, who beat compatriot Peng Shuai, 4-6, 6-2, 7-6 (3).
At the Japan Open, second seed Tomas Berdych claimed his 50th match win of the season by beating Alejandro Falla, 6-3, 7-5, Thursday in the second round of the Rakuten Japan Open Tennis Championships.
In the quarterfinal, the sixth-ranked Berdych will play No. 8 seed Kei Nishikori, who beat Tommy Robredo, 5-7, 6-1, 6-0.
World No. 9 Janko Tipsarevic also reached the quarterfinal after beating qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 6-4, 6-2. The third-seeded Tipsarevic will square off against sixth seed Milos Raonic, who was leading 3-0 when Viktor Troicki retired.
Marcos Baghdatis upset No. 4 seed Juan Monaco 7-5, 1-6, 6-3 to advance against qualifier Dmitry Tursunov, who beat wild card Tatsuma Ito 7-5, 6-3.