(Photo credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports)
No. 6 seed Jannik Sinner finally broke through for a 7-6 (2), 7-6 (2) victory against Daniil Medvedev to capture the China Open title on Wednesday in Beijing.
The 22-year-old Italian had lost his first six matches against the second-seeded Russian before prevailing in a little over 2 hours to claim his ninth title.
Sinner finished with 29 winners and 13 unforced errors, compared to 26 and 11 for Medvedev. Neither player was able to convert a break point, but Sinner's superior play at the net (23-8 edge in points) and in the tiebreaks made the difference.
"Daniil, thanks for letting me win at least one match," Sinner said during the trophy ceremony. "We have had some very tough battles, especially this year. Thanks for making me a much better player. I have been training a lot to beat you. My team are working a lot. Thank you very much and it is special to share this moment with you."
Rolex Shanghai Masters
China's Zhizhen Zhang raced to a 6-1, 6-2 win over Frenchman Richard Gasquet as action got underway at the ATP 1000 tournament. It was the 26-year-old's first main-draw victory in his hometown tournament.
"I was very nervous before the match because I had never had a success in Shanghai," Zhang said. "Finally, in 2023, I got a first win, so I'm super happy about it."
Zhang struck 27 winners to Gasquet's six and never faced a break point in the 55-minute win. Ranked No. 60 in the world, Zhang fired 11 aces and converted five of his 11 break chances.
He entered the Shanghai event with more pressure than in the past after becoming the first Chinese men's player ever to beat a top-5 opponent when he defeated Casper Ruud at the U.S. Open in August.
"It is more pressure, because more people are following me and more people have eyes on me, but I'm happy like this," Zhang said. "It's better than no one seeing you... The fans are super great, as well as my friends and family, so I appreciate them coming (to support me)."
His opponent in the second round will be Argentina's Tomas Martin Etcheverry, the No. 28 seed.
Russia's Roman Safiullin knocked out three-time Shanghai champion Andy Murray of Great Britain 6-3, 6-2. He converted five of eight break points and will take on ninth-seeded Alexander Zverev of Germany in a rematch of last month's Chengdu final.
Americans Mackenzie McDonald, Marcos Giron and Brandon Nakashima advanced in straight sets. Serbia's Dusan Lajovic eliminated Switzerland's Stan Wawrinka 6-4, 7-6 (7). Other winners include Marton Fucsovics of Hungary, Cristian Garin of Chile, Yannick Hanfmann of Germany, Jaume Munar of Spain, Yoshihito Nishioka of Japan and Australians Thanasi Kokkinakis and Dane Sweeny.
Home favorite and wild-card entry Buyunchaokete, a 21-year-old who goes by one name, won his ATP Tour debut. He was leading Miomir Kecmanovic 6-7 (6), 6-2, 2-1 when the Serbian was forced to retire.
Garin will face No. 2 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia in the second round. Top-seeded Carlos Alcaraz of Spain awaits the winner between France's Gregoire Barrere and Portugal's Nuno Borges.
--Field Level Media