Connect with us


Novak Djokovic vs. Zhang Ze – China Open Live Stream and Match Preview

Novak Djokovic vs. Zhang Ze takes place today at the 2015 China Open in Beijing.

The ATP Beijing match is scheduled to start at 09:00 BST.


Now a perfect 25-0 at the China Open, Djokovic looks set to cruise into the quarterfinals as he faces Chinese wildcard Zhang in Beijing today.

Djokovic might have been denied the Olympic gold medal he wanted desperately when the Olympics were held in Beijing in 2008, losing to Rafael Nadal in the semifinals and dissolving into tears as he left the court, but when he played the China Open for the first time in 2009 it was the beginning of a remarkable winning streak which sees him, seven years later, unbeaten at the 500-level event and aiming for an amazing sixth title (he did not play in 2011).

Returning to the China Open in 2015 after arguably the most dominant season of his career, having won three of the year’s four Grand Slams and finished runner-up at the fourth as well as collecting Masters Series titles in Indian Wells, Miami, Monte Carlo and Rome, Djokovic made a superb start to his campaign, taking just 72 minutes to defeat qualifier Simone Bolelli 6-1, 6-1. Djokovic faced a solitary break point in the second set but it barely slowed him down as he reeled off five straight games to wrap up the swift victory on Tuesday.

Tougher tests await in Beijing, at least they should with Nadal and David Ferrer still alive in the draw at the time of writing and sixth seed John Isner a potential quarterfinal opponent for Djokovic, but the world no. 1 shouldn’t have too much trouble as he takes on Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze in the second round on.

Djokovic and Zhang have never met before, which is unsurprising as they move in somewhat different circles. Currently ranked world no. 215, Zhang has never been inside the top 100, the 25-year-old peaking at world no. 148 in May 2013, and the closest he has got to Djokovic’s level was once teaming up with Roger Federer for doubles.

Zhang actually reached the quarterfinals of the China Open back in 2012 when he defeated fellow wildcard Wu Di and then fifth seed Richard Gasquet before losing to Florian Mayer, and that win over Gasquet remains the only win over a top-20 player Zhang has recorded (he lost 3-6, 4-6 to the only top-10 player he has ever faced, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, in Beijing in 2011).

Zhang has spent most of his season on the Challenger Tour, going 32-22 and recording semifinal appearances in Launceston, Busan and Seoul as well as finishing runner-up at the China F10 Futures. He lost to Jiri Vesely in the first round of last week’s Shenzhen Open, for which he was given a wildcard, but scored the second-best win of his career over world no. 62 Denis Istomin in the first round of the China Open, winning 6-3, 1-6, 6-3 to reach the second round.

Unfortunately for Zhang, he has to face world no. 1 Djokovic and there appears to be almost no chance of him repeating his surprise run to the China Open quarterfinals in 2012. Zhang and Djokovic have never played but the Chinese wildcard’s best opportunity would seem to be an illness or injury concern for the world no. 1 – something of which there was no sign during his crushing first-round win over Bolelli. Zhang will do well to delay Djokovic on court for longer than 72 minutes as the world no. 1 heads for the China Open quarterfinals.


author avatar
Ian Horne
Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

Ian goes back to the very early days of CrunchSports, having been tirelessly covering soccer for us for over 10 years.

More in Tennis