The 30-year-old Jason Jung is yet to break into the top-100 for the first time, standing 114th a year and a half ago but failing to take that extra step towards the elite. A player from Chinese Taipei claimed four Challenger titles from nine finals, spending the majority of his career on that level and earning only four wins in the ATP tournaments before this week, two in Newport 2018 and two at the New York Open a year ago.
The last year's quarter-finalist qualified for the main draw on the black hard court again, defeating a former champion Kevin Anderson 7-6, 6-4 in an hour and 28 minutes for the place in the second round. Both players struggled to find the first serve and it was Jung who performed better in those circumstances, dropping ten points in 11 service games and suffering one break of serve.
On the other hand, Anderson blasted 17 aces but offered too many opportunities to hos opponent, playing against five break chances and suffering two breaks to finish his campaign earlier than he expected. Jason was in the zone right from the first point, sailing through his service games in the opener and creating break chances in games six and eight that Kevin saved with some powerful shotmaking to reach a tie break.
There, Jung fended off a set point with a perfect backhand crosscourt winner, landing a service winner to move 7-6 in front and wrapping up the set following a costly double fault from the South African. Anderson broke in the second game of the second set when his rival sprayed a forehand error, staying in front only for a couple of minutes as Jung broke him at love in the very next game to earn the momentum that carried him home.
Jason barely lost a point behind the initial shot in the rest of the set, earning another break at 3-3 thanks to a forehand mistake from Kevin and sealing the deal with four service winners in game ten for the place in the second round.
"I guess I like these New York courts. It's always nice to get a big win; it gives confidence boost, and hopefully, I can build on that. I'm thrilled about the victory," Jung said. "Kevin is still on the comeback trail but he's been in two Grand Slam finals.
Hopefully, I can translate this into more wins in 2020; it has been a long journey for me and I'm trying to enjoy every moment out there."