Wednesday January 16, 2013
Wu and Kimiko make history for Asia
MELBOURNE PARK, MELBOURNE (Jan 14-27)
WU Di enhanced Chinaís growing stature with a historic appearance and Japanís Kimiko Date-Krumm enjoyed a record-breaking victory at the Australian Open yesterday.
Wu Di, the 21-year-old world No. 186, went down to Croatiaís Ivan Dodig 7-5, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 but he exited with his head held high as the first Chinese man to play a Grand Slam match.
ďIím really happy, but I lost,Ē smiled Wu Di, when asked if he was pleased with the way he played, revealing that a motivational text message from womenís star Li Na had helped him prepare for the match.
ďThe night before when I was going to bed, I got a text message from her. She told me, Ďdonít be nervous and donít think about tennis. Just go to bedí,Ē said Wu Di.
ďĎYour answer in the match will come tomorrow, not tonight. You will get your answer on the court. I was happy with the way I played, but not happy that I lost,Ē he added.
China is increasingly in focus on the tennis circuit with the Womenís Tennis Association replacing Japanís premier tournament with a new event in Wuhan next year - one of five on Chinese territory.
Tennis Australia is microblogging updates from the Open on Chinese social media sites, and for the first time, a group of Chinese children are performing as ballboys and girls.
Meanwhile, Date-Krumm entered the history books as the Australian Openís oldest female winner at 42, as she crushed 12th seed Nadia Petrova, who is 12 years her junior, 6-2, 6-0.
ďOf course Iím very happy to win today, but I donít play for the record. Even when Iím losing, Iím still enjoying it. Of course, every time I lose, itís mental, itís tough,Ē she said. ďBut still Iím enjoying playing. Forty-two, itís just a number.Ē
Japanís Ayumi Morita joined Date-Krumm in the second round when she beat Anna Tatishvili of Georgia 6-3, 6-3. Another Japanese, Go Soeda, also reached the next stage of the menís draw with a four-sets win over Australiaís Luke Saville.
Peng Shuai followed fellow Chinese women Li Na and Zheng Jie into round two with a comprehensive 6-3, 6-0 victory over Rebecca Marino of Canada.
ďToday the sun was on the court, and the sun was really bright. On the court I felt a little bit dizzy,Ē said Peng Shuai.
ďBut itís good. Itís really exciting to play the first round. Iím just really happy I won today.Ē
There was also success for Taiwan with Lu Yen-hsun reaching the second round of the menís draw and womenís seed Hsieh Su-wei beating Spainís Lara Arruabarrena-Vecino in straight sets. ó AFP