Updated: 01/13/2014 21:19 | By Agence France-Presse

Beaten Wu says Chinese men getting closer to winning Grand Slam

Wu Di said China's men were getting closer to winning their first ever Grand Slam match after he went down fighting at the Australian Open on Monday.

Beaten Wu says Chinese men getting closer to winning Grand Slam

China's Wu Di plays a shot during his men's singles match against France's Kenny De Schepper at the 2014 Australian Open in Melbourne on January 13, 2014

Wu, who became the first Chinese man to play a Grand Slam tournament in Melbourne last year, pushed France's Kenny De Schepper before going down 7-5, 7-5, 7-6 (7/2).

It meant more disappointment for Wu, who again earned his spot via a wildcard tournament in China and last year lost out over four sets against Croatia's Ivan Dodig.

But with Ze Zhang coming through qualifying to double the number of Chinese men at the Melbourne tournament, Wu said their challenge was quickly getting stronger.

"Before we didn't have any Chinese (male) players in a Grand Slam. Then last year first time I was in the main draw. This year we have two Chinese players," he said.

"I think we can getting better and then in future, more Chinese players will come here."

Chinese men have long been in the shadow of their women's players led by Li Na, the two-time Melbourne finalist and 2011 French Open winner.

Wu, ranked 203, said he aimed to improve his rating and earn a spot at Grand Slam tournaments through qualifying, rather than rely on wildcard events.

"Right now my ranking's no good. I hope after some tournaments I will get a better ranking and then I can play more Grand Slams , then I can maybe win Grand Slam matches," he said.

Earlier, Li destroyed 16-year-old Ana Konjuh in straight sets to reach the second round, followed by Zheng Jie who upset Italian 12th seed Roberta Vinci.

However, Zhang Shuai lost out to Germany's Mona Barthel and wildcard Hao Chen Tang went out to Eugenie Bouchard of Canada on day one.

On Tuesday, Ze will play Spain's Fernando Verdasco, the 31st seed and a former Melbourne semi-finalist.

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