On February 8th, (#97) Wu Yibing claimed the biggest win of his career over world #27 Dennis Shapovalov. Wu made quick work of Shapovalov, defeating him 7-6(1), and 6-4. Wu was able to break Shapovalov in the first game of the second set, seemingly extinguishing all momentum Shapovalov had built for himself in between sets.
Wu Down Under
Before returning to the United States, Wu had been performing well in Australia, where he took down Ugo Humbert in straight sets in Adelaide. Wu is coming off a great week in Cleveland, where he reached the finals of the Challenger Cleveland Indoor event. He was unable to come away with the victory from the hard-fought week, but it is especially evident in his play from the last few weeks that Wu has full confidence in his game.
He Isn’t Just Any 23-Year-Old
Serving out matches can be an extreme difficulty for young players to overcome when facing an elite opponent. Wu had no time for such difficulties and successfully served out the match, holding Shapovalov to just one errant point in the game.
It truly was a sight to see; the 23-year-old looked like a veteran on a mission to annihilate his opponent, while Shapovalov was a deer in headlights. Even the announcers over the match were left without words when trying to describe some of Wu’s laser beam returns of serve. No matter what Shapovalov did, Wu had an answer.
Wu is quickly approaching the prime of his career and the results recently have spoken for themselves. Wu first claimed his place among the top 100 ATP players this past week and will look to climb the rankings, especially in the American hard court swing this spring and summer.
What the Books Have to Say
The books tend to reflect the idea of Wu being a young player with extreme expected potential. Wu was a rather significant favorite (-175) against world number 64 Corentin Moutet (+138). Wu lost the match in a heartbreaking five setter where he was broken on his last service game. To learn from these experiences in big matches on the biggest stages will only help Wu, but it is clear the books are giving him the respect I believe he deserves.
In his takedown of (#27) Dennis Shapovalov (-278), (#97) Wu was listed at +220. It’s clear Wu is not recognized by the books as the 97th best ATP tennis player, and I would argue his true ranking should be closer to a spot somewhere in the top 40’s. It is to be seen how far Wu can climb the ATP rankings, but his 2023 campaign is off to a spectacular start.