Wu weathers storm to make history
RISING talent Yibing Wu has withstood a clinical serving performance from home nation hope John Isner to become the first ever Chinese man to win an ATP Tour title. Wu took to the court in the Dallas Open decider against Isner, having beaten another American, world number eight Taylor Fritz in the semi-final. While China has had plenty of success on the women’s Tour – Li Na won two Grand Slam titles – the men have not had the same success, but Wu’s three-set epic changed that.
In an unbelievable performance, Wu survived a whopping 44 aces and four championship points against the most consistent server in ATP Tour history, to win 6-7 7-6 7-6 in two hours and 58 minutes. Neither player gave an inch in the match, and while Wu was able to create a couple of break points, Isner was quick to save them serving at 75 per cent efficiency, and winning a whopping 81 and 72 per cent of points off his first and second serves.
Though Wu did serve seven aces himself and saved all three break points he faced, he was up against the crowd as well as the burden of history. He won 79 and 68 per cent of his first and second serve points off a 68 per cent clip, and needed right until the 26th point of the deciding set tiebreaker to finally clinch the title. The tiebreakers went 7-4 to Isner in the first set, then 7-3 to Wu, before a whopping 14-12 to the latter in the third set.
“I made history here for my country and for my home,” Wu said post-match. “I’m very proud of myself and especially thanks to all the fans and my team who came here to support. I couldn’t do this without any of you guys.”
Wu moved up an impressive 39 spots in the world with his victory, into number 58th having being just inside the Top 100 entering Dallas. Though 23 years-old, Wu has only been able to get his body right the last 12 months, having not played an ATP Tour match from March 2019 to January 2022. Now he is fit and firing, Wu has his sights set on on rising as high as possible.
AROUND THE COURTS
At Montpellier, Italian young gun Jannik Sinner lived up to his pre-tournament favouritism by defeating American Maxime Cressy in straight sets. Sinner battled past Cressy in a first set tiebreaker, before saluting in 96 minutes, 7-6 6-3. Cressy served 10 aces and won 77 per cent of his first serve points off a 63 per cent clip, but Sinner was even better with an 87 and 70 per cent success rate off both his serves.
In South America, Sebastian Baez won his home ATP Tour title in Cordoba, defeating fellow Argentine Federico Coria in three sets. In what was just his second career title, Baez cruised to a lead in the opening set, but then had to work hard for the 6-1 3-6 6-3 victory in an hour and 51 minutes. Baez broke four times to two and was superior off his first serve with 73 compared to 59 per cent success in the win.