Rinky Hijikata introduced himself to the tennis world during his unlikely Australian Open men’s doubles title run in 2023.
Now, he is making a name for himself on the singles court, progressing to the second week of the current US Open tournament.
The Sporting News takes a closer look at the young Aussie tennis player.
Who is Rinky Hijikata?
Hijikata was born in Sydney, Australia and began playing tennis at preschool age.
He made his International Tennis Federation (ITF) debut in 2018 at a Futures event in Mornington.
The following year, he headed to the United States to play college tennis for the North Carolina Tar Heels, remaining there until 2021.
His overseas move allowed him to enter more tournaments, winning his first professional singles title at an event in Fayetteville, Arkansas in September 2019.
During his time in North Carolina, he was given three wildcards into Australian Open qualifying but was unsuccessful in reaching the main draw.
Hijikata’s career took a jump in 2022 when he made his ATP debut at Melbourne Summer Set 1 which followed his maiden top 100 win over world No. 98 Henri Laaksonen in the qualifying stages.
The 22-year-old’s first ATP victory came at the Los Cabos Open that year before falling to world No. 1 at the time Daniil Medvedev in the Round of 16.
The Australian’s grand slam tournament debut came next, earning a wildcard into the 2022 US Open.
He notably took a set off Rafael Nadal in the first round but ultimately fell short against the champion Spaniard.
His showing at Flushing Meadows saw him granted a wildcard for the 2023 Australian Open, where he exited in the second round.
It was his doubles campaign at that tournament that was in the headlines though, winning the men’s title alongside fellow Australian Jason Kubler.
Since then, Hijikata has been gradually improving his singles game, entering the top 200 and now proving his worth at the US Open.
Rinky Hijikata ranking
Hijikata is currently the world No. 110 — a career-high ranking.
He is ranked No. 38 in doubles.
Rinky Hijikata US Open 2023 results
|Round 1||Pavel Kotov||7-5 5-7 6-3 7-5|
|Round 2||Márton Fucsovics||6-1 6-2 6-1|
|Round 3||Zhang Zhizhen||6-3 6-3 4-6 6-3|
Rinky Hijikata next match
Hijikata has now booked himself a blockbuster clash with No. 10 seed Frances Tiafoe in the Round of 16.
The American will undoubtedly have the Louis Armstrong Stadium crowd on his side with a spot in the US Open quarterfinals on the line.
Hijikata and Tiafoe have never faced off before.
The match is scheduled to start at 3:00 pm local time on Sunday, September 3 (5:00 am AEST, Monday, September 4).