Seventeen-year-old Shang Juncheng made Australian Open history by becoming the first Chinese man to win a match at Melbourne Park in the Open Era.
The qualifier secured a 6-2 6-4 6-7(2) 7-5 win against world No. 74 Oscar Otte in what became a comfortable victory for the youngster. Shang twice saved break points in the first set and went on to dominate the match, winning in four sets.
“I’d say in some way, I’m a little surprised that it came this fast,” Shang said after the match.
“But at the same time, I think it’s all the hard work from my team and myself that paid off. I’m just nothing else but excited about what’s coming next.”
Shang was composed in his play as the lefty dropped two match points in the fourth set, but recovered to see out the game with his fourth break of the match.
After only dropping a single set in his three qualifiers, Shang entered the competition as the youngest player at the tournament and is the first 17-year-old to win a men’s singles match at a grand slam since current world No. 1 Carlos Alcaraz in 2021.
“After hearing this, I think it’s quite a big accomplishment,” Shang said. “He’s the best player in the world right now. Just watching him play on the court really inspires me, inspires the young players. So to do this, it’s very special for me.”
Shang, whose father was a professional footballer and mother was a world champion table tennis player, joined fellow compatriots Zhang Zhizhen and Wu Yibing in the main draw. It is the first time in the Open Era that three Chinese men have played in a grand slam.
“Those two guys, they are definitely my inspiration,” Shang said on Zhang and Wu.
“They’ve been on tour longer than me and are way more experienced than me. I hope I can get to watch them in the main draw.”
After his victory, Shang jumped up 50 places in the world rankings to a career high No. 144.
He now faces American Francis Tiafoe in the second round who beat German Daniel Altmaier in four sets. The 16th-seeded Tiafoe will be another step up for Shang, but the 17-year-old will be confident having beaten four men ranked higher than him in qualifying and the first round.