NANJING, China - The first wildcard for the Australian Open has been snapped up, and snapped up where no Australian Open wildcard had been snapped up before - at the Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-Off.
Held in Nanjing, China a few weeks ago, it was the young Zhang Yuxuan who came out on top, winning three matches in qualifying before winning another three matches in the eight-woman main draw, first beating No.1 seed Chang Kai-Chen in the quarterfinals, 26 64 61, then Chan Chin-Wei in the semifinals, 75 60, and No.2 seed Wang Qiang in a one-hour, 40-minute final, 64 62.
"The final was a really tough match and Wang is a good player, so I'm very happy to win," Zhang commented after the match. "I'm very excited to be in the main draw in Australia. I've been playing better and better this year so I hope I can continue to get better and hopefully play well at the Australian Open."
The 18-year-old Zhang has risen almost 600 spots this season, a season highlighted by her first ITF Women's Circuit title in Korea in September.
The Asia-Pacific Australian Open Wildcard Play-off was a collaboration between Tennis Australia and the China Tennis Association in association with Rolex and ANZ. There are seven more wildcards to come for the first Grand Slam of the year - one from the Australian Open Wildcard Play-Off in Melbourne in December, two reciprocal and four discretionary wildcards.