At every stage of this year’s US Open, Wu Yibing has made history.
Wu then became the first Chinese man to win a singles match at any grand slam for 63 years with a 6-3 6-4 6-0 victory over Nikoloz Basilashvili in the first round.
By defeating fellow qualifier Nuno Borges 6-7 (3) 7-6 (4) 4-6 6-4 6-4 in a four-hour thriller on Wednesday, the 22-year-old also became the first Chinese man since 1881 to reach the third round where he will face world No. 1 and defending champion Daniil Medvedev on Friday.
The last man from China to reach the third round of any grand slam was Kho Sin-Khie at Wimbledon in 1946.
“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 it history,” Wu told reporters.
“But the more important [thing] is this bringing 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 confirmed his status as a rising star in the men’s game back in 2017 at the US Open when he became the boys’ singles champion.
Since that victory, Wu has played in few international tournaments due to back, shoulder, wrist and elbow injuries, as well as the travel restrictions in China prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The junior US Open [title] really gave me that confidence that I can play tennis on the men’s world also,” he told reporters. ” [I] got unlucky, got hurt a little bit.
“I’m happy I’m still playing tennis and enjoy tennis. I think this is really good I can keep my passion for tennis even though I was hurting bad. I think this not easy to do but I’m glad I made it.”
On the ATP Challenger Tour – the level below the ATP Tour – Wu has begun to rebuild this year, winning three titles on the circuit and catapulting himself from world No. 1869 to a career high of world No. 173.
“There’s no time for celebrations 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.”