After a historic year for Chinese men’s tennis in 2022, the momentum continued Thursday at the 2023 Australian Open.
The 17-year-old #NextGenATP star Shang Juncheng showed few nerves in the final round of qualifying for the first Grand Slam of the year in Melbourne, where he downed Zsombor Piros 6-3, 6-4 to reach the main draw.
Shang, who in 2022 competed in his first three ATP Tour main draws in Rio de Janeiro, Indian Wells and Miami, broke the World No. 171 Prios three times en route to a 77-minute victory to reach the main draw in his first Grand Slam qualification bid.
“I think overall I’m just very happy and excited about what’s coming next,” said Shang, who will take on Germany’s World No. 74 Oscar Otte in the first round in Melbourne. “These three rounds I’ve given 100 per cent and I think I did very well at controlling my emotions after each round. It’s my first time playing Grand Slams, and I’m just super excited about what’s coming next in the main draw, and I’ll try my best to win.”
Remember the name: 🇨🇳 Shang Juncheng
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 12, 2023
The World No. 194 Shang’s achievement comes just four and a half months after Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen became the first Chinese men to compete in the US Open main draw in the Open Era. Both will also compete in the first round next week at Melbourne Park.
“Those two guys are definitely my inspiration because they’ve been on Tour longer than me and are way more experienced than me,” said Shang. “I just hope I can get to watch them as well in the main draw, and best of luck to all three of us.”
In other final-round qualifying action, former World No. 29 Jan-Lennard Struff defeated home wild card Tristan Schoolkate 6-1, 6-4 to book a ninth career-appearance in the Australian Open main draw. Two of Schoolkate’s countrymen gave the home fans something to cheer, however. Max Purcell downed Matteo Arnaldi 6-4, 6,3 to qualify for the second time in his career, while Aleksandar Vukic reached the main draw courtesy of a 6-4, 7-5 win against Michael Mmoh.
American Brandon Holt’s run through qualifying to the second round of the 2022 US Open was one of the Grand Slam stories of last season, and the 24-year-old sealed consecutive Grand Slam appearances by defeating Marco Trungelliti 6-3, 6-0 to reach the main draw in Melbourne. Enzo Couacaud also made it back-to- back successful qualification bids at the majors, ending 2022 Next Gen ATP Finals semi-finalist Dominic Stricker’s hopes of a maiden Grand Slam main draw appearance with a 7-6(2), 7-6(7) win.
The other players to book their place in the opening Grand Slam main draw of 2023 were Hsu Yu Hsiou, Oleksii Krutykh, Ernesto Escobedo, Mattia Bellucci, Yannick Hanfmann, Nicolas Jarry, Dalibor Svrcina, Yosuke Watanuki, Zizou Bergs and Laurent Lokoli.