The first set was equal, but the Wimbledon sensation from the Netherlands faced two breaking points in the eighth game. He managed to get rid of the first, but the second was spot on. An unpleasant moment, because it immediately became 5-3 and Zhang was able to serve immediately for the set win. Van Rijthoven seemed to straighten his back, because he also got breaking points.
However, he was unable to use them and at the first set point for the Chinese it was hit: 6-3 and therefore surprisingly the first set to Zhang. The fifth game in set 2 also did not go as planned. Again Van Rijthoven was broken: 2-3. Fortunately, the Roosendaal-born tennis player broke his opponent back shortly afterwards: 4-4.
Van Rijthoven smashes sensor off net:
Sublime drop shot
The set went to a tiebreak. At 3-2 for Van Rijthoven, the Chinese hit a sublime drop shot. He got a thumbs up from the Dutchman. But it also kind of broke faith in winning this set, which went to Zhang 7-4 in the tiebreak.
The third set was again the same. The first few games were served and at the score of 2-3, Van Rjthoven had a hard time on his own service. Another break chances for Zhang, but now the Roosendaler eliminated them. At 4-5 he had to serve to stay in the game. He also had to pull out all the stops at 5-6 and 15-30. At 30-40 it went wrong: match point. Van Rijthoven managed to get rid of that one, but another one came and he also took it off the scoreboard, although it was close.
Rain of match points
It seemed like a stay of execution, because match point number 3 was coming and was also eliminated. The Dutch tennis player still managed to stretch it to the tiebreak. The minibreak had the Chinese right away. Zhang quickly came to 5-1 and that was simply right. But three great runs brought him back to 5-4 and two services of his own. However, another let-down followed: 6-4 in the tiebreak. Two more match points against. The second was on the service of the Chinese himself, but it did not go within the lines: 6-6. So five game points have already been cleared.
Zhang hit an ace after it, but so did Van Rijthoven: 7-7. An embarrassing double foul made it 7-8 and so, yes, another game point. On his own service, but he screwed it up again. The Chinese seemed overcome with tension, because a double fault suddenly gave Van Rijthoven a set point on his own service. But he also missed this one: 9-9. At 10-9 – so seven match points later – it was actually a hit: 2-1 in sets, still before the qualifier.
The escape did Van Rijthoven visibly good, because the fourth set (which he didn’t seem to get anymore) he was completely on fire. With an excellent score of 6-1, he tied the score in the match again: 2-2.
Also in set 5 Van Rijthoven immediately continued: the resistance of the Chinese seemed broken. He broke Zhang and even had chances for a double break, but didn’t take it. At 4-3, Zhang suddenly had break opportunities for a long time. Luckily he got rid of them all. At 5-4 he was allowed to serve for the game. He didn’t let that chance slip: 6-4 and game, set and match.
Title holder Medvedev starts well
Title holder Daniil Medvedev has started the US Open with a convincing victory. The Russian was only six games away against the American Stefan Kozlov, the number 111 in the world: 6-2 6-4 6-0. After 2 hours and 1 minute, Medvedev finished it off with a strong service volley action. He hit no fewer than forty winners. In total, he posted eight service breaks. He did give up his own save game twice.
Medvedev, 26, has been placed first in New York. Last year he took his first Grand Slam title at Flushing Meadows. This year he reached the final at the Australian Open and the fourth round at Roland Garros. He was not welcome at Wimbledon, because all Russian and Belarusian tennis players were banned because of the war in Ukraine. Sixteenth-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut was eliminated in the opening round. He lost 6-4 6-4 6-4 to the American Jeffrey John Wolf, the world number 87.