MIL-OSI China: Shang pulls off comeback win in thriller

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Source: China State Council Information Office

China’s rising tennis star Shang Juncheng replicated his historic feat of 2023 by again making the second round at the Australian Open on Tuesday.

Shang Juncheng of China celebrates during the men’s singles first round match between Shang Juncheng of China and Mackenzie McDonald of the United States at the Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne, Australia, Jan. 16, 2024. (Xinhua/Ma Ping)
Shang, who was the first male player from the Chinese mainland in the Open era to win a match in the main draw at the Australian Open in 2023, came back from a set down to beat America’s Mackenzie McDonald 6-3, 1-6, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2.
It marks the 18-year-old’s first win over five sets at a Grand Slam tournament, and means that two Chinese men have made the second round at the Australian Open for the first time, after Zhang Zhizhen also won his first round match on Monday.
Shang, who is competing at the tournament as a wildcard entrant, saved break points in his second and third service game before turning the tide by breaking McDonald to take a 5-3 lead and serving out the opener.
In the second set, the 28-year-old American dominated, winning 92 percent of points on his first serve.
At 3-3 in the third set, McDonald again pulled away, winning three consecutive games to seize the ascendancy in the match.
Despite falling behind, Shang came out firing in the fourth set, immediately breaking McDonald’s serve.
Shang never again trailed in the match, breaking McDonald again in the first game of the deciding set on his way to victory in three hours and 26 minutes.
“I think the conditions are very fast here. The air is really dry sometimes. For me, I think I like it when it’s fast. It’s got a good Chinese crowd here, too, so they were supporting me like crazy today. Thanks to them. It was good energy on the court,” Shang said at the post-match conference.
The 18-year-old will now face India’s Sumit Nagal in the second round, who, in Shang’s words, is a “really experienced player,” as he has been on the tour for a very long time.
“I don’t know much about his playing style, but from what I saw, he’s a really fast guy, kind of similar to how I play I think. For sure it’s going to be a long battle. I’m very excited,” Shang added. 

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