Mon, Apr 09, 2007 - Page 1 News List

Taiwan triumphs in tennis nailbiter

WANG SAVES THE DAY If Jimmy Wang felt nervous about Taiwan's Davis Cup hopes resting on his shoulders, he didn't show it as he trounced his Chinese opponent

By Marc Langer and Tony Phillips  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Taiwan's Jimmy Wang raises his arms in celebration after beating China's Sun Peng 6-4, 7-5, 6-3, to give Taiwan a 3-2 victory in its Davis Cup match against China yesterday in Taipei.

PHOTO: WANG MIN-WEI, TAIPEI TIMES

Jimmy Wang (王宇佐) sealed Taiwan's victory in their Davis Cup tie with China with a 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 win over Sun Peng (孫鵬) in Taipei yesterday. The victory put an end to China's comeback run, after it had fought back from an 0-2 deficit on Friday to even the best-of-five tie with consecutive wins on Saturday and yesterday morning.

Following his impressive victory on Friday, Wang turned in another commanding performance, finishing the tie without dropping a single set. He took control of yesterday's match early, overpowering Sun in his service games and holding him scoreless in three of the total 10 games.

The second set was back and forth until the seventh game, when Wang earned the first service break with a lunging forehand in the backcourt that dropped the ball out of Sun's reach.

Sun earned his only service break of the day in the 10th game to level the score at 5-5. Wang narrowly averted disaster in the next game when he fell and turned his ankle. But he seemed unaffected after being examined by the trainer for five minutes, winning the game with his own service break.

The final game went to deuce, but Wang finished it off in style, winning the set 7-5 with an ace.

Sun didn't seem to have much left for the final set, as Wang took a 3-1 lead in the fourth game by overpowering his opponent with an ace to go 40-0 up, then gently flicking a little blooper in front of the net on the next volley to take the game point.

Wang displayed his usual flare for showmanship as the tournament drew to a close in the ninth game, facing the crowd as he jumped up and down and pumped his fist between volleys. The match ended when Sun slapped a forehand wide to lose the third set 6-3.

Wang dropped his racket and turned to throw his wristband to the yellow-clad members of Taiwan Woo!, Taiwan's unofficial cheering team, who were seated behind him.

Wang didn't seem to be fazed by the pressure at all, frequently taking time throughout the match to pump up the crowd and cup his ear to call for more cheering.

The win was especially sweet for Wang, who has been battling injuries over the past few months.

His heroics followed an agonizing defeat for Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳)who was beaten 4-6, 5-7, 6-2, 7-6 (4) by Yu Xinyuan (于欣源) in yesterday's first rubber.

Despite the Taiwanese player hitting some spectacular winners, his opponent was more consistent.

After a promising start, where he only dropped one point in his opening two service games, Lu's serve was broken in the fifth game.

He bounced back to break Yu in the next game but was broken again in the seventh game before Yu served out the set in the tenth.

There was another exchange of breaks in the second set before a calamitous tenth game where the man from Taipei found himself 0-40 down.

Although he saved one break point, a backhand into the net left Yu serving for the set in the eleventh game.

Two aces later and on the first set point, Lu put a forehand into the net to put China two sets up.

Lu immediately rallied to take the third set and give the crowd at the National Taiwan University Sports Center hope of a spectacular recovery.

It wasn't to be, however, as a tight fourth set went to a tiebreak which Yu took on his first match point.

Taiwan's victory by three matches to two means it keeps in place in group one of the Davis Cup's Asia/Oceania group.

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