Jang Su-jeong puts up a good fight in first Grand Slam appearance
Jang Su-jeong dropped out of her first-ever Grand Slam on Tuesday, losing a hard-fought first round game at the Australian Open against Danka Kovinic of Montenegro after three hours and nine minutes.
Jang conceded the first set 6-3 to Kovinic, but pushed the match to a third set by the second 6-2. She put up a hard fight against Kovinic in the third set that saw 18 deuces and lasted almost an hour and a half, but Kovinic eventually won her last serve game and the set ended 6-4.
Despite failing to win at her first-ever Grand Slam, just getting there and putting up a formidable fight against a higher-ranked player is an achievement for Jang and Korean tennis. Jang is currently ranked at No. 210 in the world, while Kovinic is No. 98 and has much more experience playing Grand Slam events.
En route to the first round, Jang won all three Australian Open qualifying matches in straight sets to become the first Korean to play a Grand Slam women's singles event in two years.
The last player to make it to the biggest stage in tennis was Han Na-rae, who earned her spot at the Australian Open in 2020 as a wildcard.
Jang is the ninth Korean female tennis player to reach a Grand Slam. The first-ever was Korean tennis legend Lee Duk-hee, who became the first Korean to play a women's singles Grand Slam event in 1973, when she reached the second round of the Australian Open. In 1980, she became the first Korean across all genders to have played at all four Grand Slam tournaments in a year. In 1981, Lee reached the women’s singles round of 16 at the U.S. Open, the best a Korean woman has ever done.
The only other Korean tennis player still in the Australian Open as of press time is Kwon Soon-woo, who is scheduled to play the second round of the men’s singles tournament against Denis Shapovalov of Canada today.
BY YUN SO-HYANG [firstname.lastname@example.org]