Wu raises home hopes with shock Chardy win

Local lad Wu Di gives home fans some welcome cheer as he advances to the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters with a shock 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy of France.
Xinhua

China’s Wu Di returns to Jeremy Chardy of France en route to his 7-6 (2), 6-2 Shanghai Rolex Masters first-round victory at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District on October 9, 2017.

Local lad Wu Di gave home fans some welcome cheer as he advanced to the second round of the Shanghai Rolex Masters — for just the second time — with a shock 7-6 (2), 6-2 victory over Jeremy Chardy of France on Monday night.

With teenage sensation Wu Yibing falling to another Frenchman Gilles Simon on his Masters debut on Sunday, local supporters were hoping for some good news and Wu duly obliged with a superb performance in the late-night first-round clash.

The match began evenly with both players firing strong serves in the first set, and no break chances for either. Wu then won the tie-break 7-2 under overwhelming support from the local crowd at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District. He fired seven aces versus Chardy’s four in the first set.

The in-form Wu broke Chardy in his first service game after the Frenchman committed two double faults. Both players held their serve before Wu broke Chardy again in the seventh game to take a 5-2 lead. He then sealed victory on his first match point.

“I didn’t think too much today coming into the match,“ Wu sounded excited after the victory. “I was even a bit surprised when clinching match point.”

“I served well today. It felt like a dream. I think I have used up all my ace quota for this year today,” joked the Shanghai native, whose second-round opponent will be either Steve Johnson and Nick Kyrgios.

Wu has taken part in every edition of the Shanghai tournament since 2009. His best record was beating Uruguay’s Pablo Cuevas in the first round last year.

Elsewhere, Juan Martin del Potro needed all three sets to reach the second round, beating Georgian qualifier Nikoloz Basilashvili 6-2, 3-6, 6-4.

Del Potro, a Shanghai semifinalist in 2013, struggled with his second serve. Although he won 40 of 49 points on his first serve, he only captured 13 of 30 second-serve points.

American qualifier Frances Tiafoe advanced to the second round by beating Benoit Paire 6-4, 6-4. The 92nd-ranked Tiafoe was playing in his first main-draw match since a five-set loss to Roger Federer at the US Open.

Tiafoe will play either 10th-seeded Sam Querrey or Yuichi Sugita in the second round.

“I hope I play Sam, two Americans, so their will be an American in the third round,” Tiafoe said.

Chung Hyeon also advanced, defeating ninth-seeded Roberto Bautista Agut 6-4, 6-3. Chung saved all four break points he faced against last year’s finalist.

“Today, I was trying to stay calm all the time in the match,” said Chung, who only won one game when he played Bautista Agut in Dubai in 2016. “I won today so I did everything good.”

Also, Feliciano Lopez advanced by beating Ivo Karlovic 7-6 (1), 7-6 (6), while Andrey Rublev and Greek qualifier Stefanos Tsitsipas also made it through.

Federer, who won the title in Shanghai in 2004, will play his opening match on Wednesday. The Australian Open and Wimbledon champion hasn’t played at an official tournament since losing in the US Open quarterfinals.

“I’m playing just the big tournaments now,” Federer said. “I’ve been practicing for hours on center court. I’m here for a reason. I’m here for a purpose. Hopefully to do well and winning the tournament."

Federer will play either Diego Schwartzman of Argentina or Australian qualifier Jordan Thompson in his first match.

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