Taiwanese tennis players enjoyed mixed fortunes on the opening day of the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday. The nation's sole representative in the men's singles, Lu Yen-hsun, lost a five set marathon to France's Marc Gicquel, while in the women's singles Hsieh Su-wei beat Klara Zakopalova and Chan Yung-jan was defeated by Jill Craybas.
In a tight match on Court No. 11 Lu lost the first set before bouncing back to win the next two, the third set going to a tiebreak which the 24-year-old from Taipei took 8-6. The experienced Gicquel then claimed the fourth set and the deciding fifth to earn a 6-3, 4-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-2 victory.
Hsieh continued her good run of form from the qualifying tournament, where she won three times to earn a place in the main draw, by downing her Czech opponent 2-6, 6-4, 8-6. It was the 22-year-old's first singles match at the Australian Open and an impressive performance considering Zakapalova is ranked nearly a hundred places above the No. 158-ranked Hsieh. The Czech was ranked as high as 27 as recently as March 2006 but lost in the first round of all four Grand Slam tournaments last year.
Hsieh now faces No.19 seed Sybille Bammer in round two. The Austrian beat Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn in three sets yesterday.
It was the first time the right-hander from Taipei has made it into the second round of a Grand Slam singles event, having lost five times in the first round at Grand Slam events.
Meanwhile a disappointing Chan lost in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2, to 33-year-old US veteran Jill Craybas, ranked 30 places below her.
She will now concentrate on the doubles where she teams up with fellow Taiwanese Chuang Chia-jung. The pair will be hoping to go one better than last year when they reached the final only to lose in three sets to Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Liezel Huber of South Africa.
Hsieh is also competing in the women's doubles with Russia's Alla Kudryavtseva.
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