2020 New York Open
College Wild Card Invitational
January 13, 2020
Peak crimson. Harvard teammates Brian Shi (pictured above, with New York Open Tournament Director Peter Lebedevs) and Ronan Jachuck blasted their way through the draw of USTA Eastern's New York Open College Wild Card Invitational to face each other in the final, with Shi ultimately prevailing in two tight sets, 7-6, 7-6. As a result, Shi will now receive a wild card into the New York Open, an ATP tournament held at NYCB Live, home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Hempstead, New York on Long Island.
"I'm very excited," said Shi, a Long Island native and former USTA Eastern junior. "Every tennis player who grinds from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. for years always dreams of being able to play on a stage this big. ADVERTISEMENT To know that I'll be making my professional debut at home, it's indescribable. It feels amazing."
Shi, who was out of the sport for a couple months this past fall recovering from a wrist injury, looked like a man on a mission: He didn't drop a single set through the whole tournament and never lost more than three games in a match until the semifinals. Jachuck put up quite a fight in the final, however, with Shi only emerging victorious after two fiercely-contested sets that both ended in tiebreaks.
"Ronan is a great tennis player," Shi said. "He had a fantastic fall and I wasn't sure how the match would pan out. I just talked to my coach the night before, and I thought I executed my game plan very well today."
This was USTA Eastern's second time partnering with the New York Open to host the event. At the inaugural New York Open College Wild Card Invitational, Columbia sophomore Jack Mingjie Lin outlasted Cornell’s Alafia Ayeni in a tight three-set contest, 6-7, 6-3, 7-6, to capture a spot in the main draw of the 2019 New York Open. Lin then went on to face Brayden Schnur, the ATP tournament's eventual finalist. In his first-ever ATP match, Shi could potentially face Nick Kyrgios or Kei Nishikori, both of whom are confirmed to compete on the black courts at NYCB Live.
"These are the types of wildcard linkages that make our professional pathway stronger," said Martin Blackman, General Manager of USTA Player Development. "[The Invitational] was a great opportunity for the best collegiate players in the Northeast to compete against each other and get better in preparation for their spring team season, with a huge prize for the winner. We thank the New York Open for its continued support of American Tennis."
21 athletes from 10 colleges—including Brown, Columbia, Cornell, North Carolina and Yale—competed in this year's Invitational, which was held January 9-11 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Both semifinals featured Harvard vs. Columbia matchups, with Jackie Tang taking on Jachuck and Austen Huang facing off against Shi.