Report from this newspaper (Reporter Chu Peng) Yesterday, the first round of the ATP500 level competition started.

Zhang Zhizhen, the top Chinese men's tennis player, met the Russian star Rublev, the second seed in the tournament.

Zhang Zhizhen showed off his serve in the tie-break of the first set and won the first set with 6 consecutive points. Rublev performed well in terms of experience and key points, and finally reversed Zhang Zhizhen 6-2 and 6-4 to advance.

Although Zhang Zhizhen had no choice but to miss out in the first round of Dubai, his progress in this game and even this season is still remarkable.

Next, Zhang Zhizhen will play in the Indian Wells Masters as a main draw player for the first time with his world ranking of 46th.

  Zhang Zhizhen has performed well since the 2024 season. Not only is his serving weapon powerful, but his stability and confidence at the bottom line have also improved, and his world ranking has stabilized in the top 50.

However, Zhang Zhizhen’s fortune at this Dubai tournament was not good and he encountered Rublev, ranked fifth in the world, in the first round.

Facing Rublev, who served equally well, Zhang Zhizhen showed no fear in the first set and performed equally well on the serving end with his opponent.

At 6-6, it came to the tie-break. Rublev once attacked Zhang Zhizhen's serve and succeeded, taking a 4-1 lead.

But Zhang Zhizhen's mental state is also stable now. He hit a 6-0 climax and finally won the first set 7-6.

  In the second set, Rublev returned the serve in a fighting style and forced a break point in Zhang Zhizhen's service game.

Under pressure, Zhang Zhizhen made a double fault and handed over the first serve game of the match.

After that, Zhang Zhizhen was unable to shake Rublev's advantage in the service game. His own mentality was frustrated and he surrendered the second set 2-6.

In the third set, Zhang Zhizhen worked hard to hit the penalty points to the extreme, resulting in more mistakes, and Rublev broke serve early.

Zhang Zhizhen did not give up. Rublev's subsequent serve was slightly soft, and Zhang Zhizhen forced two break points for the first time.

Helplessly, Rublev surged in the face of critical points, and successfully maintained serve after the stalemate.

After that, Zhang Zhizhen did not give up his efforts to break his opponent, but Rublev had no flaws in serving to win the game and successfully won the deciding set 6-4, eliminating Zhang Zhizhen in three sets to advance.

Zhang Zhizhen stopped in the first round of this Dubai tournament.

  Judging from the technical statistics after the game, Zhang Zhizhen is not significantly behind Rublev.

Zhang Zhizhen served 17 aces in the whole game, only one less than Rublev.

Both men's first serve success rates were above 70%, with Zhang Zhizhen's winning rate reaching 79% and Rublev's winning rate reaching 82%.

The two of them contributed many wonderful winning shots throughout the game, and Zhang Zhizhen's fighting style in the final set made him make many unforced errors.

  Next, Zhang Zhizhen will go to Indian Wells in the United States to start the North American hard court season.

Just last year, Zhang Zhizhen was ranked outside the 90th place and needed to play in the qualifying round of the Indian Wells Masters. After defeating compatriot Shang Zhicheng, he got the opportunity to play in the main draw of the overseas Masters for the first time.

Zhang Zhizhen has risen into the top 50 in the past year and will compete in the Indian Wells Masters for the first time as a main draw player.

Photo courtesy/Visual China