KUALA LUMPUR: Up-and-coming tennis player Christian Didier Chin became the first Malaysian to reach the second round of a junior Grand Slam in almost 40 years when he won his first round match at the Australian Open in Melbourne Park today.
He overcame a slow start to overcome Australian Thomas Bosancic 3-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-3) to book his place in the second round. Bosancic is Australia’s top ranked junior.
The Sabahan will now play Wojciech Marek of Poland on Monday for a spot in the third round.
He will first partner Siddhant Banthia of India in the first round of the boys' doubles tomorrow. The duo will play Bosancic-George Loffhagen of Great Britain.
Christian, who secured a direct entry to the main draw, said he was relieved to have played to form in the tournament after first round defeats in three recent events.
"It was a close match and the atmosphere was great with many fans watching us play. I think it was the match of the day (juniors) here," said the 17-year-old.
"I was really tight in the first set but then I just tried to relax and enjoy the match from the second set and managed to win it 6-0. It was again close in the third set and I managed to save four match points before winning the tie break.
"Finally, after losing a lot of matches in the United States and Europe, I feel that I have rediscovered my game. I was trying to be someone else then but I am just playing my own game now and enjoying it.
"It's an important win for me and I have another match (Marek) which I feel I can win. It is a big opportunity for me, I will fight hard and enjoy every moment."
Suresh Menon was the first Malaysian to win a match at a junior grand slam when he reached the second round at Wimbledon in 1979. Christian is only the second Malaysian to achieve the feat.
National coach Adam Jaya, who is with Christian in Australia, praised Christian for his performance.
"This is his first junior grand slam and the occasion got to him in the first set. He was tight and he felt stressed but he showed great character to come back strongly.
"He showed great fighting spirit and never gave up. He stepped up in the tie break and did well on the big points.
"This is a great win for the country and I hope it will inspire players back home. Christian, however, still needs to maintain focus and take each match at a time. He needs to forget this win and focus on getting as far as possible in the tournament."