New York, USA, 1 September 2023 | Leigh Rogers

Rinky Hijikata thrives on the sport’s biggest stages, as he’s proving at this year’s US Open.

The 22-year-old Australian scored a third consecutive win against a higher-ranked opponent to advance to the fourth round at Flushing Meadows.

Showing no signs of nerves in his first major third-round appearance, a remarkably composed Hijikata recorded an impressive 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3 victory today against China’s Zhang Zhizhen.

He fired 55 winners, including 13 aces, against world No.67 Zhang in their three-hour and 10-minute encounter.

After not facing a break point in the opening two sets, Hijikata was forced to fight harder in the third and fourth sets.

But the world No.110 survived a spirited comeback from Zhang and regained control to close out a four-set victory.

This sees world No.110 Hijikata become the first Australian wildcard to reach a Grand Slam fourth round since Nick Kyrgios’ breakout run at Wimbledon 2014.

“I wouldn’t have picked it at the start of the week,” Hijikata said.

“But I put a lot of hard work in. I’ve always strived for these type of results and I’ve always felt that I am capable of having runs in these tournaments.

“But to have it happen this soon, when I feel like I am still pretty new playing at the Grand Slams, it’s pretty cool.”

Hijikata now plays world No.10 Frances Tiafoe for a place in the quarterfinals.

It will be his first career meeting with the 25-year-old American, who was a US Open semifinalist last year.

World No.13 Alex de Minaur is scheduled to play his third-round match tomorrow.

If he beats world No.25 Nicolas Jarry, it will mark the first time that two Australian men have reached the fourth round in New York since 2020.

Aussies in action – US Open

Men’s singles, third round
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) d Zhang Zhizhen (CHN) 6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3

Men’s singles, third round
[13] Alex de Minaur (AUS) v [23] Nicolas Jarry (CHI)

Men’s singles, fourth round
[WC] Rinky Hijikata (AUS) v [10] Frances Tiafoe (USA)

> VIEW: US Open 2023 men’s singles draw

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