Wu Yibing entered the Dallas Open as the newest member of the Top 100 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings. After becoming the second Chinese man to achieve that milestone, the 23-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down.
On Wednesday in Dallas, Wu upset third seed Denis Shapovalov 7-6(1), 6-4 to advance to his first tour-level quarter-final. The victory against the World No. 27 is the biggest win of the Chinese star’s career by the measure of the Pepperstone ATP Rankings.
“I’ve been playing great tennis the past few months,” Wu said in his on-court interview. “Hopefully I can keep playing good. Thanks for all the fans [coming to] watch, especially Chinese fans. I can hear you guys!”
Wu was the steadier player against Shapovalov, and he put the Canadian under pressure from the first ball, winning the first seven points of the match en route to an early 3-0 lead. Shapovalov battled back and had a look at break point at 4-4, but Wu held firm and then ran away with the tie-break.
The World No. 97 again saw an early lead erased in set two, but he closed out the match with authority after his third break of the evening earned him a 4-3 advantage. Wu lost just one point in his final two service games, rising to the occasion with his first two aces of the match to bring up match point.
After injury struggles saw Wu drop as low as World No. 1869 last April, he is now hitting top form on the game’s highest level. As he begins to fulfill his potential, he keeps a positive perspective on those challenging moments in the past.
“I am thankful to all these injures because it’s given me a different personal experience,” he explained. “I became more mature, then I could know what I can actually achieve. Because of this I think I play better tennis and also enjoy more.”
After a long wait following his third-round exit at the Australian Open, Frances Tiafoe made the most of his first match since Melbourne with a dominant display earlier on Wednesday night.
The second-seeded Tiafoe blitzed past countryman Mackenzie McDonald 6-1, 6-3 in just 58 minutes to advance the the quarter-finals at the ATP 250 event. In a clean performance worthy of his current career-high Pepperstone ATP Ranking of No. 14, Tiafoe hit 15 winners and only five unforced errors.
“I played really well today,” said Tiafoe, who saved the lone break point he faced. “I haven’t played in a couple of weeks and I’m really determined. I had a short Australian Open. I wanted a much better Australian Open, so I’m definitely coming in here hungry and I’m just happy I was able to put on a good show for you guys.”
This was the third time Tiafoe played McDonald in Texas. Tiafoe also won on the clay of Houston in 2018, while McDonald earned the win in Dallas at a 2018 ATP Challenger Tour event.
Wednesday was also a big day for Tiafoe off the tennis court, as he was named to the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game next weekend in Salt Lake City, Utah.
“I was nervous today because I played more basketball the past two weeks than I have tennis, getting ready for the All-Star game,” he joked.
In the Dallas quarters, Tiafoe will face sixth seed J.J. Wolf, a 6-3, 7-6(5) winner against Radu Albot earlier on the stadium court.
Wednesday’s play also rounded out the first round at the ATP 250, with Oscar Otte, Daniel Altmaier and Emilio Gomez advancing to the last 16.