PARIS: Shang Juncheng missed out on becoming the first Chinese man in 86 years to win a match at the French Open on Monday (May 29) when he slipped to an agonising five-set defeat to Juan Pablo Varillas.
The 18-year-old Shang, ranked 200 in the world and who had to come through qualifying in Paris, let slip a two-sets lead to lose 4-6, 2-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-1.
Despite being in the ascendancy for large parts of the opening round clash against his 94th-ranked opponent, Shang suffered a left wrist injury which hindered his progress and required a medical timeout in the fifth set.
The left-handed Shang and compatriots Wu Yibing and Zhang Zhizhen are the first Chinese men in the first round at Roland Garros since Kho Sin-Khie and Choy Wai-Chuen in 1937.
All three had also made the main draw at the Australian Open in January while Wu reached the third round at the US Open last year.
Later Monday, Wu, the world No 54, takes on Spanish 19th seed Roberto Bautista Agut while the 71st-ranked Zhang tackles Dusan Lajovic of Serbia.