Juncheng Shang becomes first Chinese man to win Australian Open main-draw match in Open Era

2021 US Open - Day 13
Juncheng Shang has created history at the Australian Open.

Juncheng Shang, 17, is the youngest player in the main draw at the 2023 Australian Open. On Monday (January 16), he created another piece of history.

The teenager beat Germany's Oscar Otte 6-2, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 to become the first Chinese man in the Open Era to win a main-draw match at the first Grand Slam of the year.

Shang, a qualifier, saved break points in the opening set and never looked back. After dropping only two games in the opener, he conceded four in the second to take a two-set lead. Although he dropped the third set on a tiebreak, Shang reasserted his supremacy in the contest.

After squandering a match point at 5-4, the left-hander came good two games later to create history for his country at the Happy Slam.

It was Juncheng Shang's first main-draw match win on the ATP tour after defeats in Rio de Janeiro, Indian Wells and Miami last year. The NextGen ATP star will next take on Frances Tiafoe or Daniel Altmaeir on Wednesday for a place in the third round.

Juncheng Shang 'super excited' to be in Australian Open main draw

Juncheng Shang isn't the only Chinese man in the main draw this year.
Juncheng Shang isn't the only Chinese man in the main draw this year.

Juncheng Shang has company from his country in the men's singles main draw at the Australian Open this year.

The 17-year-old is joined by compatriots Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen. This marks the first time a trio of Chinese men have made the main draw of a Grand Slam in the Open Era (1968 onwards). It is also the first such instance at the Australian Open since 1905.

Shang recently told ATP Tour about his older compatriots, calling them an inspiration:

“Those two are inspirations for me. They’re like older brothers and I think they’re doing really well for Chinese men’s tennis.
“They’ve inspired me a lot and they’ve been on the Tour longer than me, so it’s always good experience practising with them, talking to them, and I wish them all the best for this upcoming Australian Open.”

He continued:

“I’m super excited to be here, and I don’t think it’s a surprise for me. It’s obviously not in the calendar that I’ll be playing the main draw of the Australian Open when I’m 17 years old.
“I’m just very excited for this opportunity to be able to play qualifying and have the chance to qualify. I’m very excited for what’s coming next.”

Shang, ranked 194th in the world, beat 2009 semifinalist Fernando Verdasco in three sets in the second round of qualifying.