Wu becomes first Chinese player to win both singles and doubles in Shanghai

Wu Di became the first Chinese player to win both singles and doubles first-round matches at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, as he partners Wu Yibing to beat French rivals in doubles.
Ma Yue / SHINE

Wu Di (right) and Wu Yibing in action against French duo Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin en route to their 7-6 (6), 6-3 first-round victory at the Shanghai Rolex Masters on Tuesday.

Wu Di became the first ever Chinese player to win both his singles and doubles first-round matches at the Shanghai Rolex Masters.

Having beaten Jeremy Chardy of France in the first round on Monday, Wu partnered 17-year-old Wu Yibing, the junior singles and doubles winner at last month's US Open, in beating the French duo Fabrice Martin and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 7-6 (6), 6-3 in their doubles opener at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District on Tuesday.

“Last night’s victory (in the singles) boosted my confidence,” 26-year-old Wu said after the victory. “Both of us were fully concentrated and committed, fighting for every ball. We even made plans for every single point on court during the match.”

Having won the first set on a tie-break, the Chinese duo raced to a 5-2 lead in the second, forcing match point which they failed to seize. The French duo pulled one game back before the two Wus took a 40-0 lead in the ninth game for another three match points. But it was not until the fourth match point of the game that Wu Di grabbed a winner in front of the net.

The match was scheduled on Court 7 where not many seats had been made available compared to Qizhong’s major courts. The court was therefore heavily packed, with crowd restriction measures in force — a testimony to the popularity of the two Wus.

Wu Yibing, a wildcard holder who lost to another Frenchman Gilles Simon in his first-round singles match, agreed that good communication played an important part in their doubles victory.

“We actually did not make much plan before the match. It was on court that we observed our opponents and started making strategies, which worked out pretty good,” the junior Wu revealed.

Wu Di advanced to the singles second round of the Shanghai tournament two years in a row. His opponent will be American Steve Johnson, who advanced after his opponent, Nick Kyrgios of Australia, called it quits after losing the first-set tiebreak 6-7 (5).

“I have played against him (Johnson) in a first-round qualifier for the French Open,” said Wu. “I hope to maintain my recent good form. I have nothing to lose and will try my best.”

Personal breakthrough

In an earlier singles match, another Chinese wildcard Zhang Ze failed to make a personal breakthrough at the Shanghai tournament after losing 2-6, 3-6 to American Ryan Harrison in the first round.

Unlike compatriot Wu Di, Zhang has never managed to clear the first round at the ATP 1000 tournament.

“The match was scheduled at noon, and sometimes I found it a bit difficult to breathe during the match though I think I played a better game than in Beijing (where he lost to Spain's Roberto Bautista Agut in the first round of the China Open),” Zhang said in a post-game interview.

Zhang said his service and service returns were weak compared to his opponent, but he was still happy with his performance from the baseline and in the rallies.

“I failed to seize some break chances. Actually I was struggling in the latter part of the match due to the humid weather,” said Zhang. “I always prepare myself in the best possible way when coming to Shanghai every year. But to get a good result at a high-level tournament like this, you do need some luck apart from superb performances. The result today was disappointing.”

Ranked 221 in the world, Zhang said his immediate aim is to make it to the qualifiers for the Australian Open next year and take part in more high-level international competitions. To enter the world's top 100 is also a target for the 27-year-old Nanjing native, who married former Chinese badminton star Deng Yuting last December. Zhang said that marriage had made him more mature.

“Generally, I have been performing steadily after marriage. I’m no longer restless and my wife always encourages and comforts me when I’m in a bad mood.”

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