The teenager created history after becoming the first Chinese man to win a main-draw single match at the Australian Open.
Chinese tennis prodigy, Shang Juncheng, found himself a place in history books after his memorable win over Germany’s Oscar Otte 6-2, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 in the Kia arena.
Shang, the youngest player in the men’s draw emerged victorious after a three-hour long intense battle. His third match point sealed the win after he saved two break points in the opening set.
The 17-year-old is set to meet 16th seed American, Frances Tiafoe in a tough second round.
The result was not only significant for China, but Shang also achieved several personal milestones – he notched his first major win in addition to his first tour-level victory in four years.
Australia has been an unforgettable outing for the Chinese teenager where he defeated the likes of Fernando Verdasco, the former world number 7.
Shang qualified for the Australian Open main draw along with fellow Chinese players, Zhang Zhizhen and Wu Yibing. This is China’s best performance at any grand slam main draw since the Open era began in 1968.
Zhang Zhizhen, 26 years old, became the first Chinese male to reach the top 100 rankings in singles, while Wu Yibing, 23 years old, became the first Chinese to win a main-draw singles match in a Grand Slam with a first-round win at the US Open in 2021.
Shang is the son of former professional Chinese football player Shang Yo and multiple world championship medallist table tennis player Wu Na.
Shang gained attention for his sportsmanship and act of compassion, after he helped an Indian-origin ball-kid, Atharva Dang. This incident happened during the Lexington Challenger in August, 2022, when Atharva fainted and Shang put his racquet down to carry the kid and waited till the physiotherapist arrived.
Shang in an interview with ATP Tour website said “He is going to faint! I turned around to ask for the ball. When the ball-kid gave me the ball, he looked like he was unable to stand. I asked him, ‘How are you?’ and he said, ‘I don’t feel good.’ He staggered over and I felt like he was going to faint right away. I just did everything I could do with my gut feeling”
Shang later went ahead to become the youngest Chinese player to win an ATP Tour tournament after winning the Lexington Challenger.
The athlete began training abroad when he was 13 years old and currently trains at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
Zhang Shuai, ranked No 22 in the world, leads a group of seven Chinese women in the singles bracket.
In 2011, Li Na won the French Open and three years later won the Australian Open, making her China’s best tennis player.
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