Sat, Apr 07, 2007 - Page 20 News List

Lu, Wang beat Chinese

STUDY IN CONTRASTS While Taiwanese player Lu Yen-hsun needed five sets to defeat China's Sun Peng, local Jimmy Wang thrashed Yu Xinyuan in straight sets

By Tony Phillips  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun hits a forehand yesterday during his Davis Cup match against China's Sun Peng in Taipei. Although Lu required treatment on his back during the match, he went on to defeat Sun in five sets.

PHOTO: CHANG CHIA-MING, TAIPEI TIMES

Taiwan made the perfect start to its Davis Cup campaign against China in Taipei yesterday with victories in the two opening matches.

Taiwan now only needs to win today's doubles to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the best-of-five competition.

It wasn't all smooth sailing, however, as Taiwan's Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳) needed five sets to beat Sun Peng (孫鵬).

Peng is ranked more than 750 places lower than Lu in the ATP singles rankings.

Jimmy Wang (王宇佐), by contrast, made light work of Yu Xinuan (于欣源), the top-ranked Chinese player, during the day's second match.

Repeat

Lu's 3-6, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2 win was a repeat of his five-set victory four years ago against the same opponent on the only other occasion that Taiwan has met China in the Davis Cup.

There were three breaks of serve in the first five games of yesterday's first set, with Sun taking a 3-2 lead.

In the ninth game the Chinese player earned two set points, winning the second.

Lu bounced back in the second set with an immediate service break.

Closing it out

He then broke his opponent again in a hard-fought seventh game before closing out the set in the eighth with a strong serve to his opponent's forehand that the Beijing player could only send well over the baseline.

Sun took the third set when his Taiwanese opponent sent a backhand long in the ninth game.

The 23-year-old from Taipei looked to be in real trouble when Sun broke his serve in the first game of the fourth set.

He bounced straight back, however, to break in the second game before another exchange of serves in games five and six.

Lu then received courtside treatment for a lower back problem before Sun once again lost his serve in the 10th game handing the world No. 96 the set.

The final set went with serve until Sun twice double-faulted in the sixth game, disastrously so at 15-40 down.

Lu never looked back and clinched the match on his first match point when Sun hit a forehand wide.

In control

While the first match fluctuated wildly, Wang always looked in control during his 6-3, 6-2, 6-4 win.

Clearly pumped up, he immediately bounced back from a break of serve in the first game before taking the first set 6-3.

The 22--year-old from Taipei was even more dominant in the second set, which he claimed 6-2 on his first set point.

Yu put up more of a fight in the third set, which went with serve until the Chinese player netted a return under pressure at 15-40 in the eighth game to leave Wang to serve for the set.

Emphatic style

He did so in the most emphatic style, setting up three match points before finishing the contest with an ace.

Today's doubles match will be contested by Taiwan's two other squad members, Chen Ti and Yi Chu-huan, who are playing China's Yu and Zeng Shaoxuan.

Play at the National Taiwan University Sports Center begins at 1pm. Admission is free.

The winners of the tie will retain their place in Asia/Oceanina Group 1 of the Davis Cup, one level below the elite world group.

The losers will face a further relegation playoff with either India or Kazakhstan.

The losers of this tie will drop into Asia/Oceanina Group 2.

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