Zhang, Machac reach men's doubles semifinals at Australian Open

(Xinhua) 11:30, January 23, 2024

MELBOURNE, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's Zhang Zhizhen made another piece of Chinese tennis history here on Tuesday when he and Tomas Machac of the Czech Republic produced a masterclass to reach the men's doubles semifinals at the Australian Open.

The unseeded pairing of Zhang and Machac overwhelmed Ariel Behar and Adam Pavlasek 6-3, 6-1 in a one-sided quarterfinal that lasted just one hour.

"It was an incredible match. Today we played really good, especially with returning," Zhang said.

Zhang, who is ranked 625th in doubles, entered the match with confidence after combining with Machac to produce a considerable third-round upset over doubles specialists Rajeev Ram and Joe Salisbury, who had won the last three US Open doubles titles and also triumphed at Melbourne Park in 2020.

But the Chinese-Czech pairing were wary against fellow giant killers Behar and Pavlasek, who had knocked out fifth seeds Santiago Gonzalez and Neal Skupski in the third round.

Zhang and Machac soon gained control through relentless return of serves as the new pairing raced through the second set to reach the final four.

They will next face either second seeds Matthew Ebden and Rohan Bopanna, or sixth seeds Maximo Gonzalez and Andres Molteni.

It has been an impressive bounce back for Zhang, China's highest-ranked men's singles player, who fell in the second round to 21st seed Ugo Humbert in four sets.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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