Jerry Shang wins 2021 Mardy Fish Children’s Foundation tennis title
Youth prevailed over the experience when 16-year-old Chinese Shang Juncheng, the world’s No.1 junior player, defeated No.3 Ricardo Rodriguez, a 28-year-old tour veteran of Venezuela, for s ‘Snatch Mardy Fish Children’s $ 15,000 Foundation Championship Tennis Title with a 7-6 (6), 6-4 win on Sunday.
The victory at Boulevard Tennis Club in Vero Beach marks the third pro title for the Chinese teenager in an International Tennis Federation (ITF) World Tennis Tour event, which is also part of the Association’s Pro Circuit tournament. American tennis.
Shang, who currently sits at No.1008 on the ATP computer, impressively won his first professional event at a $ 15,000 event in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and again at the same level in Naples last week. .
âIt’s really good for me,â Shang said after the victory. âI’m really happy, especially these last two weeks which have been consecutive wins. It’s really special for me to do it with the pros.
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Top ranked juniors:World No.1 ranked junior tennis player Juncheng Shang wins Mardy Fish tennis tournament
âI’ve been playing really confident the past two weeks. I don’t think so much about the shots but I’m definitely going to go. And I’m really relaxed and I find a rhythm in my matches.
Rodriguez, ranked 613th, credited his opponent with a well-played game.
“I think the key to the game was that he was better than me on the important points,” said Rodriguez. âI had a set point in the first set, and I had a few break points, and he played them all well.
âHonestly, I have no regrets because in general I played a very professional game today which was not my way.
The Beijing native, named Jerry, has lived with his father in the United States for the past five years and is currently training at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
Shang says it came from his athletic prowess from his parents, who were both international sports stars in their favorite sport.
His father, Shang Yi, who sat next to the court watching the teenager win the Vero Beach title, was a professional football midfielder who played for Beijing Guoan for most of his career. The elder Shang played internationally – for Xerex in Spain – during the 2003-04 season. His most notable achievement in Spain was scoring a goal against Cadiz CF, a rival team of Xerex.
After retiring from football, Shang Yi became a commentator for Beijing Sports TV before accompanying his son to Florida.
Her mother, Wu Na, who stays in Beijing and visits Florida, is a former international table tennis star. She won a bronze in singles and gold in mixed doubles at the 1997 World Table Tennis Championships, and a bronze in the same women’s doubles event in 1995.
âMy dad played football, soccer, and mom played table tennis, so for me they picked a sport something in the middle,â Shang said with a laugh. “They chose not the big ball, but the small ball for me.”
Finding a path in tennis rather than soccer or table tennis seems to have been a smart move for Shang, which he proved again on Sunday.
The first set of the final was a matter of pinching and pulling back that ended in a decisive tiebreaker.
Both players scored two mini-breaks when the score was 4-4 in the tiebreaker. Rodriguez missed the only set point he had at 6-5, and two points later hit a forehand badly to allow Shang to score the first set.
Rodriguez also held a breaking point on Shang’s serve at 5-5 in the first set, but failed to take the lead when he missed the backhand return.
Both players, who actually warmed up hours before the final, traded early service breaks in the second set.
At 3-3, Shang rallied to take a lasting lead in the second set. He set up a 15-40 break point opportunity with a winning forehand pass shot. He then broke serve for a 4-3 lead with a cross backhand winner.
Shang served the hour-and-54-minute match to Love, winning the title with a scorching forehand down the line.
At this point, Shang believes his junior days are over and he will focus on those lower level pro events to move up the ATP rankings. His junior career culminated this year with a quarter-final at Roland Garros, semi-finals at Wimbledon and a final US Open appearance last month.
In the past 25 years, only two former world No. 1 juniors – Roger Federer of Switzerland and Andy Roddick of the United States – have become world No. 1 on the main men’s ATP tour.
Without a doubt, Shang hopes to replicate Federer and Roddick’s feat of turning No.1 status among juniors into the best player in the world. If he could get this accolade, it would certainly make him a superstar at home in China.
While Li Na has won two Grand Slam singles titles and reached the world’s second career career in women’s football, no Chinese has ever reached the top 100 in the men’s ATP rankings.
âI think that’s a big goal because I’m only 16 right now,â Shang said. “But that’s something I’ll be looking for in the future, hopefully, but it’s important to take it one step at a time now.”
Rodriguez believes the future is very bright for Shang, who has played a mature and structured game against him.
“What I experienced today is how well he handles the important moments and how well he knows that his pulse does not shake every time there are difficult moments in the game,” Rodriguez said. “It makes him special, especially with his young age.”
As Shang is likely to find out when you’re a professional tennis player, you learn to live a life where a different hotel room becomes the one you live in every week. Given this, players tend to find tournaments that they enjoy playing, a feeling that is often reinforced by success in a venue.
That’s exactly what happened for Rodriguez, who preferred to play at Vero Beach, which is only a short ride on I-95 from his home in Fort. Lauderdale.
This was Rodriguez’s second appearance in the Mardy Fish tournament final. He lost to Juan Benitez of Colombia 7-5, 2-6, 6-4 in the 2018 league game. In 2017 he reached the quarter-finals and last year he reached the quarter-finals of the UTR event organized by the organizers of the Vero Beach tournament.
“Since I first came here I think in 2017 you treated me like one of you, like family,” Rodriguez said in a post-match interview on the field this week. âIt’s one of my favorite places to come and play. Whenever I do my schedule, Vero is always a priority for me. You are one of my best friends.
Rodriguez, who peaked at No. 282 in June 2014, has been a mainstay of Venezuela in Davis Cup, a top international team competition, during his career. He has played 18 Davis Cup games since 2012 for a 22-9 record.
Most recently, the Davis Cup gave Rodriguez a special opportunity to play at the Westside Tennis Club in Forest Hills, NY, which hosted the prestigious US National / US Open for 60 years (1915-1920 and 1924-1977).
In September, Venezuela lost 4-0 to South Africa in a Davis Cup World Group II match held on neutral ground in Forest Hills.
âAbout a month ago I had the opportunity to play at Forest Hills and it was a great experience for me,â said Rodriguez. I have played the Davis Cup 18 times, but none of them in such a historic place. It’s kind of the payoff for the hard work and sacrifice.
In Saturday’s doubles final, Florida Gator teammates Duarte Vale of Portugal and Johannes Ingildsen of Denmark beat Ben Shelton, also a Florida Gator, and Liam Draxl of Canada and the University of Kentucky 6-3, 6 -4.