Lee Duck-hee became the first deaf player to win an ATP main draw match, waiting out a rain delay to beat Henri Laaksonen in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
The 21-year-old from South Korea was two points from victory when thunderstorms swept through the area. When he and Switzerland’s Laaksonen returned some five hours later Lee quickly polished off a 7-6 (7/4), 6-1 victory on Monday (August 19).
“I never expected to get through this one,” said Lee, who had won the final three points of the first-set tiebreaker.
“I thought that I was just going to do my best and try to stay focused, but I came out a winner.”
Lee, ranked 212nd in the world, will play third-seeded Hubert Hurkacz, world number 40 from Poland, in the second round.
“I’m going to go to the match with the same attitude,” said Lee, who has pursued his tennis dream despite the difficulties posed by his disability.
He turned pro at 15 and achieved his best ATP singles ranking of 130th in the world in 2017. “I’m going to do my best and see what happens,” he said.