US Open: China’s Wu makes history after reaching third round
Wu Yibing created a piece of tennis history on Wednesday after becoming the first player from China to reach the third round of the US Open.
The talented 22-year-old defeated fellow qualifier Nuno Borges of Portugal in a five-set thriller to set up a David v Goliath showdown with defending champion Daniil Medvedev.
Wu — winner of the US Open junior crown in 2017 — recovered from two sets to one down to close out a 6-7 (3/7), 7-6 (7/4), 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 win in 3hr 47min.
Wu is the first player from China to reach the third round of any Grand Slam tournament since Kho Sin-Khie reached the same stage at Wimbledon in 1946.
Wu later revealed Wednesday’s arduous battle with Borges was only the second time he had played a five-setter.
“It was great for myself that I could maintain my level until the fifth set,” Wu said.
“I only played once in my life a five-set match. This is my second time in my life. I’m happy for myself.
“I think there’s more to come. I feel like I have this level to play here in the Grand Slam. Hopefully I keep health, keep playing more Grand Slams.”
The Chinese youngster was also amused to be informed that his exploits in the Big Apple had made him a top trending topic on social media in his homeland.
Asked what that meant to him he joked: “I’m a good-looking guy, I guess.”
“It’s a tough question to answer. But I think if there is a first time, there is going to be a second time, a third time. I’m happy that I’m the first guy to make the history.
“But the more important is this brings hope to all the Chinese fans and the kids so we can have more great players in our country, which I think we should have had a long time ago.”
Wu meanwhile is keeping his feet on the ground as he prepares for his third round battle with Russian world number one Medvedev.
“There’s no time to celebrate yet,” he said. “I have a tough opponent next round. That’s my mindset. I’m here to play the tournament. When the tournament finishes, we do parties, but not during the tournament.”
Wu’s heroics came after more success for China in the women’s draw, where Wang Xiyu stunned third seed Maria Sakkari to reach the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time.
Wang, ranked 75, came from a set down to knock out her Greek opponent, who made the semi-finals last year, 3-6, 7-5, 7-5 in their two-hour 43-minute clash.
The left-hander hit 11 aces, 35 winners and saved 12 of 17 break points and goes on to face Alison Riske-Amritraj of the United States for a place in the last 16.
“I’m just trying my best to save every ball,” 21-year-old Wang said in her on-court interview. “I’m trying and learning.”
Wang, the 2018 junior champion at the US Open, was joined in the third round by Zhang Shuai, who defeated Slovakia’s Anna Karolina Schmiedlova 7-5, 6-1.
Two other Chinese women Zheng Qinwen and Yuan Yue play second round matches on Thursday.