Nishioka, Han win Australian Open wildcards
By winning the Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off finals in Shenzhen, Yoshihito Nishioka and Han Xinyun have booked their tickets to Melbourne Park in January.
Japan’s Yoshihito Nishioka and China’s Han Xinyun will line up in the main draw of Australian Open 2016 after winning the men’s and women’s Asia-Pacific Wildcard Play-off finals in Shenzhen on Sunday.
They won in vastly different circumstance – Han trounced top-seeded compatriot Wang Yafan 6-1 6-0, while Nishioka recovered to beat Taiwan’s Jason Jung 3-6 6-2 6-3.
Wang was unable to hold her serve at any stage in the match, and watched as Han’s winners flew by her with regularity. Han, the tournament’s No.2 seed, swept the last eight games in a row to seal victory in one hour.
“I feel like I get a second wind in my career,” the 25-year-old said.
“I’m more matured as a person now, and more calm and clear-headed on the court especially when playing at crucial moments.
“I will now take two or three days off, and then travel to Beijing to train with Carlos Rodriguez in his tennis academy there. We’ll only have three weeks before the new season starts, which I don’t think is enough. I learned a lot from him in previous training session, he’s a really good coach, and I want to learn more.
“I always respect (former Australian Open champion) Li Na a lot, right now I’m seeing her as my idol and my goal to work hard for. Hopefully I can become a better player in next year and have a good performance in the Australian Open.”
Nishioka was on the back foot against Jung in the opening set of the men’s final, with Jung serving solidly and breaking serve in the sixth game to gain the advantage.
But with the first set in hand, he couldn’t hold off the No.1 seed. Nishioka’s defence was excellent, forcing Jung to go for too much and commit errors.
In the third set, Nishioka was superior, running all over a tiring Jung and capping victory with a winning lob.
“I’m so excited that I can play main draw in the Australian Open, it will be the first time for me,” said the left-hander.
“Entering the top 100 was actually my goal for this year, but I didn’t make it. Hopefully in next year I’m able to be in top 70. And I already won a first round match in the US Open this year, so next time I hope I can win a second round at a Grand Slam.
“I don’t feel pressure (because) the attention from the Japanese media is all on Kei (Nishikori). He is someone all the other Japanese players look up to. It gives me motivations to try to play as good as he does.”
The boys’ and girls’ winners were also determined, with 15-year-old Mu Tao and 14-year-old Wang Xiyu securing a spot in the junior Australian Open singles events.
Men’s Singles – Yoshihito NISHIOKA (JPN)
Women’s Singles – HAN Xinyun (CHN)
Men’s Doubles – HSIEH Cheng Peng (TPE) and YANG Tsung-Hua (TPE)
Women’s Doubles – Shuko AOYAMA (JPN) and Makoto NINOMIYA (JPN)
Boys’ Singles – MU Tao (CHN)
Girls’ Singles – WANG Xiyu (CHN)