Wu Yibing becomes first Chinese man to reach the US Open third round since 1881
LONDON (AP) — Wu Yibing was playing on the third-round match at the U.S. Open. Then, suddenly, he was not.
Wu was one of the five foreigners to advance Wednesday from the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at Flushing Meadows in Queens. He earned the first qualifying spot with his 3-1, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (3) victory over No. 45-seeded Robert Lindstedt of Sweden.
“I was so excited right after I got out there, and all of a sudden, I just felt like I dropped off the map,” the 23-year-old Chinese player said in a text message to The Associated Press.
He hadn’t dropped from the match since about the third or fourth game.
Wu is the first Chinese man to reach the U.S. Open third round since 1898, a run that began with the first Chinese player to win a major championship, Liang Wen-chi, who played at the U.S. Open in 1881. The oldest Chinese man to reach a major was Ching Foon Swee, who did so in 1962 at Wimbledon.
Liang, who lived in Queens, lost the first three games and had his serve called out of the match at 5-4. But he rallied and won six of the next seven games to win 6-4, 7-6 (4), 6-4.
Lindstedt is seeded seventh in the U.S. Open third round and will play No. 4 seed John Isner.
Wu, who turned professional in April 2012, said his first thought upon hearing Lindstedt is that “I want to fight back.” But when he gets into a match, he said, “I just play my game, and it’s easy.”
Wu was the first Asian man to reach a major at 16 years old. He won in the third round at the Japan Open in 2012, and his first-round win at the French Open the following year was the first Asian tennis