Sports, Tennis

Zhang fights back to win women’s single gold

Published : 30 Sep 2023 10:10 PM

Zhang Zhizhen fought back to become the first Chinese men's singles tennis champion at the Asian Games since 1994 with victory over Japan's Yosuke Watanuki on Saturday in Hangzhou.

It caps a strong few months for Zhang, who 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 carried on that form to defeat Watanuki 6-4, 7-6 (9/7) in the Hangzhou final.

"In the first set I told myself to calm down because I was rushing too much," said Zhang.

"And in the second set, to be patient, keep going, keep going all the time and try to find some chances."

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.

India's Rohan Bopanna, a former Grand Slam mixed doubles champion, added to his collection of titles at the age of 43.

Along with Rutuja Bhosale, they defeated Taiwan's Liang En-shuo and Huang Tsung-hao after a super-tiebreak, 2-6, 6-3, 10-4, for mixed doubles gold.

Chan Hao-ching and Chang Yung-jan won gold in the women's doubles by beating fellow Taiwanese pair Lee Ya-hsuan and Liang 6-4, 6-3.

Ashok slams super 61 to put one hand on gold

India's Aditi Ashok has one hand on a women's golf Asian Games gold after a blistering round of 11-under 61 on Saturday as world number two Yin Ruoning fell out of contention with a 74.

In the men's tournament in Hangzhou, Hong Kong's Taichi Kho, who was 18-under par after opening rounds of 62 and 60, saw his six-shot lead whittled back to three after a 70.

Ashok moved to 22-under for the tournament and has a seven-shot cushion over Thailand's Arpichaya Yubol, who is 15-under after a third-round 69.

The world number 47 Ashok, who agonisingly missed a medal at the Tokyo Olympics by one stroke, carded nine birdies and an eagle two, spectacularly holing her approach shot at the par-four ninth.

But the top-ranked player in the field, China's Yin, slumped to a two-over par round and gold looks a forlorn hope for the US PGA Champion.

She tumbled down the leaderboard into a tie for ninth, a massive 13 shots behind runaway leader Ashok.

Instead it was world number 13 Lin Xiyu who looks likely to get on the podium on home soil, after her third-round 68 took her to 14-under and into bronze medal position with one round to play.

She has a three-shot buffer to Japanese amateur Saki Baba, who is in fourth place on 11-under after a 68.

In the men's, rookie pro Kho moved to 24-under par and still in a strong position.

But Hung Chien-yao's 67 halved the deficit with a round containing six birdies and just one dropped shot for the Taiwanese player, at the par-three seventh.

South Korean amateur Jang Yu-bin is in bronze position on 20-under after a 68 with his US PGA Tour star teammate Im Sung-jae lurking ominously one-stroke back in fourth after a 66.

Im, the world number 27, moved to 19-under but could have really turned the screws and was heading for a round of 64 until a double-bogey at the last saw him slip out of the top three.

India win gold in Squash, beat Pakistan

Indian players showcased a spectacular performance in sports events like shooting, equestrian, cricket, etc in the ongoing Asian Games in China. So far, India have won 33 medals, out of them eight are gold. 

Notably, more than half of the gold medals came from shooting (6), and one from cricket and equestrian each.

After a power-packed performance on Friday, Indian players are ready to set the stage on fire on day 7 of ongoing Asian Games competition. 

India opened its medal account with a silver in shooting on Saturday. Indian shooters, Divya TS and Sarabjot Singh gave a tough competition to China for the top podium finish, but ended with silver in the match. Later in the day, India's Rohan Bopanna and Rutuja Bhosale won gold in tennis mixed doubles by defeating Chinese Taipei.

Whereas, five Indian players sealed their positions in finale at different sports events. Long jumpers Murali Sreeeshankar and Jeswin Aldrin qualified for the final of the men's long jump event.

Indian hurdlers Joythi Yarraji and Nithya Ramraj made it to the final of the women's 100 m hurdle. In the 1500m race Jinson Johnson and Ajay Kumar Saroj qualified for final.