Zhang Zhizhen fought back to become the first Chinese men’s singles tennis champion at the Asian Games since 1994 with a victory over Japan’s Yosuke Watanuki on Saturday in Hangzhou.
Zhang was the first man from China to beat a top-five player last month when he defeated Casper Ruud to reach the last 32 at the US Open.
The 26-year-old from Shanghai also reached the same stage at this year’s French Open, and he grabbed his reward for a successful year with a 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) victory over Watanuki in the Hangzhou final.
In front of a roaring home crowd, the 60th-ranked Zhang made a slow start and fell 4-1 behind in the first set after being broken twice by 77th-ranked Watanuki.
But he won the next five games to take the first set, then held his serve for 4-3 in a pivotal seventh game in the second.
The pair continued to slug it out into a tiebreak, before Zhang converted his third match point and hurled away his racquet in celebration.
Earlier in the day, Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Chang Yung-jan won gold in women’s doubles.
The second-seeded pair beat fellow Taiwanese Lee Ya-hsuan and Liang En-shuo 6-4, 6-3.
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