Photo: Ray GiubiloDi Wu (CHN)
21-year old Chinese player Di Wu, the first male Chinese player to compete in the Hopman Cup main event when China qualified in 2012, is our featured player for the month of April.
Wu has been representing his nation in Davis Cup play since 2009 and it was in this competition that his month began, winning the opening and closing singles rubbers to help China to a 5-0 defeat of Chinese Taipei and avoid relegation.
His first action on the ITF Pro Circuit came shortly after this vital Davis Cup win and took place at the Sichuan Internation Tennis Center in Chengdu.
At the corresponding tournament last year, Wu was a beaten finalist and this was something he was looking to put right in 2013.
This was his first tournament since reaching a new ATP career high ranking of 169 and named as the top seed, Wu suffered a bit of a fright when dropping the opening set of his first round encounter with Hung-Yuan Hsu, a Chinese Taipei qualifier looking to exact immediate revenge on the player who contributed to his nation’s Davis Cup loss.
Having lost the first set 64, Wu then reversed this score line to level the match before pushing on to close out the match with a 61 deciding set win.
This match proved something of a wakeup call for Wu and he responded by dropping just five games in his next two matches, including a stunning quick-fire 61 61 defeat of Australian eighth seed Alex Bolt to earn a semifinal place.
A tough 64 36 64 win over another Australian seed, Nick Kyrgios seeded seventh, saw Wu move into his first singles final on the ITF Pro Circuit since mid-2012.
The title match pitted Wu against fourth seeded Boy Westerhof of the Netherlands, the only European national competing in the singles main event!
Like his opening round and semifinal matches, Wu would be taken to three sets.
Twelve games were shared in the first set, which saw Wu triumph 75 but Westerhof only allowed him two games in the second set to force a decisive third set. Westerhof, looking for his first singles title in China had to settle for the runner-up trophy, just as he had in his only other Chinese singles final back in February 2012 as Wu edged a close set 64.
Wu’s second and final tournament this month kept him in Chengdu as the Sichuan Internation Tennis Center was once again the host venue.
The young Chinese star was once again the number one seed and he was looking to win back-to-back titles for the second time and in doing so defend his 2012 title.
A second successive tournament began for Wu with victory over a qualifier, this time it was Germany’s Sami Reinwein who was beaten. Wu then followed this up with a convincing 60 61 win over another European player in Hugo Nys of France.
Wu completed a hat-trick of wins against European opposition in the quarterfinal where he came up against Boy Westerhof, his opponent from the previous week’s final. Aside from dropping the second set, Wu had little trouble securing the win, eliminating the fifth seed 61 57 62.
Wu was also competing in doubles during the week with partner Aoran Wang of China, but unlike in the same round of the singles event, Wu’s participation came to an end with a 75 64 loss to the eventual champions Mao-Xin Gong and Shao-Xuan Zeng.
Back in the singles event, another seed was despatched by Wu as sixth seed Tsung-Hua Yang of Chinese Taipei was seen off 61 64 in their semifinal. Another familiar face from the previous week awaited Wu in the final as eighth seed Nick Kyrgios, whom he faced in the semifinal previously also won through to the final.
That encounter required three sets to achieve victory but this time he wrapped things up in straight sets, 63 63, to claim back-to-back titles for the first time since his last title wins on the ITF Pro Circuit in late May 2012.
A super month for Di Wu, first he helps his nation fight off the threat of relegation in Davis Cup, then avenges a 2012 final loss before ending with a successful title defence.