Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

Ma Yue liuchwanshin
Zhang Zhizhen, Wu Yibing and Shang Juncheng will be carrying the hopes and dreams of China as they face off against the legends of tennis at the prestigious Rolex Shanghai Masters.
Ma Yue liuchwanshin

A batch of rising Chinese players will get the chance to go head-to-head with the world's tennis elite in front of the home crowd at the 2023 Rolex Shanghai Masters.

With their recent achievements in competitions abroad, Zhang Zhizhen, Wu Yibing, and Shang Juncheng have garnered the greatest expectations from the country's tennis fans.

Zhang and Wu are no strangers to the Rolex Shanghai Masters, but Shang won his first wildcard by winning the "Road to the Rolex Shanghai Masters" Shanghai Challenger in September.

Zhang Zhizhen

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

Zhang defeated the world's fifth-ranked Norwegian player, Casper Ruud, in the second round of this year's US Open in August. The win is the first by a Chinese mainland male player over a top-5 player.

The match lasted over three hours and went to five sets. Zhang showed remarkable resilience and strategic skills, setting a new standard for Chinese players in the US Open's history.

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

The Shanghai native, who will turn 27 on October 16, has had a notable career loaded with accomplishments. He has two ATP Challenger singles titles and two ATP Challenger doubles titles. On the ITF Futures tour, he also won two singles and two doubles titles.

Zhang made history in October 2022 when he became the first male player from China's mainland to enter the ATP top 100 singles rankings. He reached his highest ranking – 52 – in July.

Zhang reached another career milestone at the Madrid Open earlier this year when he beat qualifier Jurij Rodionov to become the first male Chinese mainland player to win an ATP Tour clay court match.

He advanced to the quarterfinals, which was also a record for a Chinese male player in a Masters event. Zhang also won his first match against a top-10 player at the Madrid Open, defeating Taylor Fritz in the fourth round.

Wu Yibing

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

Wu reached a major career milestone on April 10, 2023, when he reached World No. 55 in the ATP rankings.

The Hangzhou native's foray into the realm of tennis commenced at the age of 4 and swiftly garnered acclaim for his capabilities and immense potential. At the unusually young age of 8, he was recruited to the Zhejiang provincial tennis team.

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

In 2017, his meteoric rise attained its zenith when he won both the Junior Boys singles and doubles titles at the US Open, concurrently scaling the pinnacle of world junior rankings.

However, his ascendancy was not without obstacles. Wu endured a nearly three-year absence from professional tennis due to a series of incapacitating injuries that began in 2019 and were exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. His world ranking plummeted below 1,800th place.

However, the Wu trajectory exemplifies resilience. Recovering from his injuries, he improved his global ranking from 1,869th to 58th in less than a year. He made history by becoming the first Chinese mainland player to lift an ATP Tour trophy after winning the Dallas Open in February.

In a manner comparable to that of Li Na, the pioneer in Chinese women's tennis, Wu continues to be at the forefront of advancing the sport's proliferation and international recognition in the country.

Turning 24 on October 14, he exemplifies the potential for men's tennis in China.

Shang Juncheng

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

Eighteen-year-old Shang is seen as the future of men's tennis in China.

Shang was born in Beijing to a soccer star father and a table tennis world champion mother. He began formal tennis training at an early age under his family's supervision and showed outstanding dedication and focus.

He began professional training at the age of 11 and topped the junior world rankings by the time he was 16.

Making his foray into the adult circuit in 2021, Shang quickly showed a level of skill that defied his age. A hat-trick of wins in Challenger tournaments drew the attention of the national and international media.

Trio of rising stars ready to shine on home court

Shang made history this year at the Australian Open when he overcame 74th-ranked Oscar Otte to advance to the second round. It was also the first men's singles victory by a Chinese player at the Australian Open in the Open Era.

With a wildcard entry, Shang will make his debut at the Rolex Shanghai Masters this year.

"I certainly look forward to playing against top-10-ranked players in a big tournament like this," Shang told Shanghai Daily.

"This is my second year competing in adult tournaments. I'm still nervous before every match. However, being nervous indicates that you care about the game. So it's a form of stimulation for me."

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