Teenager Wu Yibing had nothing to lose going up against world No. 12 Kei Nishikori in Shanghai on Wednesday. The 18-year-old Chinese wild card left it all out on the court in pushing Nishikori to three sets.
Nishikori's veteran experienced helped him weather the storm for a 3-6, 6-0, 6-3 win.
"I'm really surprised how he played in the first set," the 28-year-old said. "He was hitting the ball very clean, coming to the net a lot and playing aggressive. I couldn't do anything in that first set."
Wu was the No. 1-ranked junior in 2017 and became the first Chinese player to win a junior Grand Slam when he won the 2017 US Open. He is ranked No. 415, after only turning pro last year. This was just the sixth ATP event of his career, and his first-round win over fellow wild card Li Zhe marked his first-ever ATP win.
"He was playing like Top 50 or Top 30 tennis in the first set. I was really happy to see that," Nishikori said. "If he can stay focused and work hard, I'm sure he's going to be a very good player."
Tennis in China has been growing exponentially but there are no male players inside the Top 100. Wu is the sixth-highest ranked Chinese player on the ATP Tour and the youngest from his country inside the Top 1,000.
This Week on Tennis Channel Plus 10/8
Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic and Alexander Zverev headline the ATP Rolex Shanghai Masters. Watch live coverage from 5 courts on Tennis Channel PLUS beginning Saturday 10/6 at 12:00am ET.
Race to ATP Tour Finals on Tennis Channel Plus
The Race to the ATP Finals is heating up. Watch all the action on Tennis Channel PLUS.
Live coverage from Shanghai, Basel, Vienna & Paris all lead into the ATP World Tour Finals this November!