China's Han Xinyun earns wildcard entry to Australian Open

Updated: 2015-12-07 10:32

By Sun Xiaochen(

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China's Han Xinyun earns wildcard entry to Australian Open

Chinese player Han Xinyun swings for a backhand shot during the women's final of the 2016 Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff in Shenzhen, Guangdong province on Sunday. Photo provided to China Daily

Despite the absence of retired star Li Na, the Australian Open 2016 will continue welcoming Chinese contenders as world No 157 Han Xinyun earned a wildcard entry to the women's singles main draw on Sunday.

Boasting an edge in big-time experience, Han breezed past younger opponent Wang Yafan, 6-1, 6-2, in 59 minutes at the women's final of the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoffs at Shenzhen's Luohu Tennis Center on Sunday, booking a direct berth in the main draw tournament at Melbourne Park next January.

It will be Han's second Australian Open main draw campaign after her first appearance in 2010 when she advanced through the qualification rounds to meet local star Samantha Stosur in her main draw opener.

Han lost to Stosur 2-1 to finish her Grand Slam main draw debut.

Already a veteran on the Women's Tennis Association Tour, Han expects to make a difference this time around by passing the first round.

As the first of the four Grand Slam tournaments on the annual calendar, the Australian Open used to be the favorite major event among Chinese as Li won her second Grand Slam in Melbourne in 2014 after Chinese pair Zheng Jie and Yan Zi claimed the doubles champion in 2006.

On the men's side, the relatively lower ranked Chinese male players failed to make the final of the wildcard playoff, which was played between Japan's world No 117 Yoshihito Nishioka and Jason Jung of Chinese Taipei.

Nishioka came back from a first set scare to outplay Jung, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3 in the final to clinch a wild card into the men's main draw at the Open.

Chinese male player Wu Di, who won the wildcard playoff back to back in 2012 and 2013, unexpectedly bowed out in the first round this year while China's highest-ranked man Zhang Ze, winner of this tournament last year, lost to Jung at the quarterfinals this year.

In the juniors' competition, teenager Wang Xiyu won the wildcard to the girls' tournament at Australian Open 2016 while Mu Tao earned the entry to the boys' competition at the Melbourne Park.

Introduced in 2012 by Tennis Australia as an annual fixture in China, the Australian Open Asia-Pacific Wildcard Playoff has provided promising youngsters in the region an access at their doorsteps to experience the high-profile main draw events at the Open, helping mature a group of young talents over the past five years.