NCAA Mens Tennis

Hijikata Continues US Open Run Into Round Of 16

Hijikata Continues US Open Run Into Round Of 16

Rinky Hijikata’s professional star continues to rise.
A 2021 All-America at the University of North Carolina as a sophomore, Hijikata displayed poise and confidence that belie his age and advanced to the round of 16 of 2023 US Open with a four-set win over Zhizhen Zhang of China on Friday afternoon at the US Open near New York City.
Hijikata beat Zhang, 6-3, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3, in a match that lasted 3:10. He advances to Sunday’s fourth round, where he will meet American Frances Tiafoe.
On the heels of a straight-set win in the second round, in which he lost just four total games while beating #57 Marton Fucsovics on Wednesday, Hijikata continued his career-best singles run in a Grand Slam event by reaching the fourth round.

“There’s been a lot of hard work put into this and I’m just stoked to see the rewards being reaped now,” Hijikata told @StanSportAU after the match. “It’s a team effort here, and I’ve got a lot of people behind me. I’m just very thankful and stoked with the win today.

“It’s unbelievable, it’s what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Ever since I picked up a raquet, these are the moments you dream of. To play in front of crowds like this, it’s absolutely hectic here, it felt like a Davis Cup match. There were a lot of Chinese supporters out here, a lot of Aussies, a lot of Tar Heels, so it’s unbelievable. I loved every second of it, even the people that were supporting against me.”

At 22 years, six months, Hijikata is the youngest Australian player in a Grand Slam fourth round since Alex de Minaur (20 yrs. 6 months) advanced to the 2019 US Open round of 16.


Zhang had won two five-set matches entering the match with Hijikata, including beating fifth seed Casper Ruud of Norway in the second round on Wednesday. Boasting a career-best ranking of #110 in the world and displaying a strong forehand, Hijikata started strong, picked up a break and won the first set, 6-3.


In the second set, he broke Zhang again to take a 4-3 lead. After holding serve to take a 5-3 lead, he persisted in the next game after Zhang fought off three consecutive set points, responding with two straight winners to win the set, 6-3. Hijikata did not face a break point through the first two sets.


Zhang won his first break of the match in the first game of the third set, seizing momentum and taking a 2-0 lead before winning…

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