CHINESE players’ journey at this year’s Shanghai Rolex Masters came to an end after Wu Di and Wu Yibing lost their second-round doubles match 6-7 (5), 3-6 to the seventh-seeded pair Oliver Marach of Austria and Mate Pavic of Croatia yesterday.
“We were comparatively weak in seizing key points, and this was the difference between us and (those) high-level players,” 26-year-old Wu Di said after the match. “But the good thing is we are cooperating more smoothly, and are more confident about the future.”
Taking on their world No. 11-ranked opponents, the wildcard Chinese duo held their first two service games before being broken in the fifth game of the first set. Amid huge support from a vocal local crowd, they broke back to tie the score at 4-4.
With the players staying on serve, it went into a tie break, with the Wus taking a 2-0 lead. But the Austria-Croatia duo managed to grab four straight points back for a 4-2 lead, carrying on to seal the tie break 7-5.
The Chinese duo was broken again in the sixth game of the second set to allow their opponents to take a 4-2 advantage. Each pair then held their serves in the next three games before Marach and Pavic claimed the second set 6-3.
“Our opponents reached the final at Wimbledon this year. They are more experienced, especially on finer details like change of positions during their service games,” said Wu Yibing, who turns 18 on October 14. This year was his inaugural Shanghai Rolex Masters experience.
“I have displayed my skills in both singles and doubles. There are regrets, but I also glimpsed hope.
“Right now I’m pushing myself to the limit to take on opponents in this tournament, and I’m sure I will improve both my skills and mental power through high-level competitions like this” the junior Wu added.
Wu Di was also generally happy with his performance this year. He became the first Chinese player to ever reach the second round in both singles and doubles at the Shanghai tournament, though he lost 2-6, 1-6 to world No. 45 Steve Johnson of the United States on Wednesday in the second round within just 48 minutes.
“If I could have performed the way I performed (in the doubles) today, the result for the singles might have been different,” said the senior Wu.
“But to be able to advance to the doubles second round was a kind of surprise. Also, I think I’m more mature in adjusting myself when shifting between singles and doubles schedules. There is still room for improvement, and I hope to go even further at next year’s tournament.”
“We Chinese players have been encouraging each other these days (during the Shanghai tournament), and it feels really good,” he concluded.