The 17-year-old Chun Hsin Tseng has been one of the most prominent players of his generation, already winning multiple pro titles to enter the top-450 on the ATP ranking list and becoming junior no. 1 last June, staying there until the end of the season to wrap up the year-end honors.
The youngster who shares the birthday with Roger Federer has played only nine junior tournaments in 2018 but that was enough to forge a huge lead over Hugo Gaston and other closest rivals after lifting two Major titles. After winning the doubles crown at the AGL Loy Yang Traralgon Junior International, Chun Hsin reached the singles final at the Australian Open, losing to Sebastian Korda in two tight sets.
Focusing on his pro career, Tseng stayed away from the junior tennis until May and he went on to win Roland Garros, defeating Korda in the semis and Sebastian Baez in the title match to lift his first Major crown. Following an early exit at Roehampton, Chun Hsin claimed another big title at Wimbledon, becoming the first back-to-back Grand Slam winner since 2012 and the first who conquered Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same season since Gael Monfils in 2004!
Thiago Seyboth Wild halted Tseng in the semi-final of the US Open and he failed to win a medal at the Youth Olympic Games in Buenos Aires in October, losing in the quarter-final in singles and mixed doubles. In his last junior tournament in a career, Chun Hsin lost in the final of the ITF Junior Masters to Brandon Nakashima and he is now ready to leave junior tennis behind him and chase professional success in 2019 and a breakthrough run in Challengers in order to move closer to the place inside the top-200.
Chun Hsin won his first Challenger match in September in Kaohsiung and he has secured another one on Monday in Canberra, beating the French qualifier Fabrice Martin 6-3, 7-6 in quick an hour and 23 minutes to reach the second round.
The youngster saved two out of three break points and he broke Martin twice, saving a couple of set points in the 12th game of the second set and bouncing back from a 5-3 down in the tie break to rattle off four straight points and secure the place in the second round.
Tseng will now face the 21-year-old Hubert Hurkacz in round two and that should be the right test of his current skills, facing a player from the top-100 who possess a great serve and forehand. In the post-match interview, Tseng spoke about his performance at the start of the tournament and also about his memories from the ATP Finals where he had a chance to train with Roger Federer, Dominic Thiem and Kei Nishikori, gathering the experience and hoping to play there one day.
"Today was a really good match, I played well and I hope that I can do well in this tournament," Tseng said. "In the second set he was serving really well, that made it a little bit tougher, and also he changed a little bit his rhythm - sometimes he came into the net and tried to finish the point at the net.
I broke him at the beginning of the set, but after that he was playing really well and broke back. In the tie break, I was down 4-1 and there were some very tough moments. It was a very good experience winning two grand slams because you're in front of a big crowd.
Especially when I played the Wimbledon final, I was facing the local player so all the crowd was going for him. I think it was a pretty tough match and also a very good experience to be there facing all the crowd. I think that helped me get better and more confident.
Roger and I share a birthday and also I had one chance of practicing with him before the ATP Finals. That was also a very good experience that I know the top players' level."