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China's Wu Yibing upsets home favorite John Isner to claim historic first ATP title in Dallas
“I made history here for my country and for my home. I’m very proud of myself," said Wu, who became the first Chinese player to win an ATP Tour title in the Open Era.
Published Feb 13, 2023
WATCH: Wu Yibing defeats John Isner at the 2023 Dallas Open
China has an ATP Tour champion for the first time in the Open Era, and his name is Wu Yibing.
Wu was already the first Chinese player to reach an ATP final and the first to record a Top 10 win, after his semifinal upset over world No. 8 Taylor Fritz. On Sunday, the 23-year-old made history again at the Dallas Open, clinching a nail-biting 6-7 (4), 7-6 (3), 7-6 (12) victory over John Isner to claim his first ATP title.
“I made history here for my country and for my home,” Wu said during the trophy ceremony. “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, who broke into the ATP’s Top 100 for the first time this week, will rise from world No. 97 to a new career-high ranking of No. 58 on Monday.
In a three-hour match that didn’t feature a single break of serve, Wu managed to stay toe-to-toe with 6’ 10” Isner, one of the game’s biggest servers. The American fired 44 aces against his opponent—a personal record for Isner in three-set matches—over the course of three sets.
Wu saved a total of four championship points, including three in a roller coaster third-set tiebreaker, before converting on his fifth match point—collapsing on his back in celebration.
“I swear I thought I won the match a few times,” said Dallas resident Isner. “I know he hit one ball, and it had to be on the back sixteenth of the line… Sports can be brutal.
“He is an unbelievable ball striker and a very good talent.”
Earlier in the week, Wu took down three more seeded players, posting straight-sets victories over No. 3 Denis Shapovalov and No. 6 Adrian Mannarino before toppling top-seed Fritz 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4 in the semifinals.
A former junior world No. 1, Wu has been reaching historic milestones for Chinese men’s tennis since the earliest days of his career. He became the first Chinese man to win a Grand Slam when he lifted the 2017 US Open boy’s trophy, but his transition to the pro tour had been marred by a series of injuries that left him sidelined for three years (2019-2021).
When he returned in 2022, Wu shaved 1000 places off his ranking to make his long-awaited Grand Slam debut at the US Open. His third-round run marked another Open Era first for Chinese men’s tennis, and he has continued his steady climb in 2023.