Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun was knocked out of the Australian Open yesterday by a Spanish buzzsaw, unable to conjure up any of Wednesday’s magic that helped him past the tournament’s 10th seed David Nalbandian.
Tommy Robredo, the tournament’s 21st seed who has risen as high as fifth in the world, never let Lu into the third round match, winning convincingly 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in just under two hours.
Robredo served impeccably, connecting on 75 percent of his first serves, and made only 21 unforced errors to Lu’s 33 during the match.
Still feeling the effects of his three-hour 55-minute five-set triumph over Nalbandian in Melbourne’s intense heat on Wednesday, Lu got off to a particularly slow start, making 11 unforced errors and barely connecting on half of his first serves in the first set.
But unlike the erratic Nalbandian, Robredo did not reciprocate, controlling the points from the baseline.
Lu tried to attack more in the second set, getting to the net 10 times, but the Spanish baseliner was still too consistent, breaking the 25-year-old Taiwanese twice.
The final set seemed a formality as Robredo let Lu make the mistakes.
Despite the defeat, the tournament was a giant step for the world No. 61, who reached the third round of a grand slam for the first time in his career.
The 90 ranking points earned for advancing to the final 32 will help Lu crack the world’s top 60, not far from his stated goal of being ranked in the top 50.
Over the past year, most of his ranking points have come from second-tier Challenger events, but with the new tennis ranking system launched this year that gives more weight to grand slams and major ATP Tour events, Lu will need to raise his level of play in big events to attain his goal.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, paired with China’s Peng Shuai, advanced to the third round of the women’s doubles, defeating Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-7 (1), 6-3 in just over two hours.
The 16th-seeded duo will next face the tournament’s second seeds, Anabel Medina Garrigues and Virginia Ruano Pascual, in the round of 16.
Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Chia-jung entered the doubles with separate partners, but both lost in the first round.
Ana Ivanovic’s hopes of a return trip to the Australian Open final fell apart in a barrage of mistakes yesterday as Russia’s Alisa Kleybanova ousted her 7-5, 6-7 (5), 6-2 in the third round of the women’s singles.
With Kleybanova constantly aggressive, fifth-ranked Ivanovic lost her serve nine times and finished with 50 unforced errors.
Dinara Safina beat No. 25 seed Kaia Kanepi of Estonia while fellow-Russians Vera Zvonareva, seeded seventh, and No. 10 Nadia Petrova also progressed to the fourth round yesterday.
In the men’s singles Roger Federer stayed on track for a record-equalling 14th grand slam title when he swatted aside former champion Marat Safin in the third round.
The Swiss totally dominated the match to win 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 and next meets Tomas Berdych after the Czech beat Switzerland’s Stanislas Wawrinka.
In other matches Andy Roddick beat Fabrice Santoro 6-3, 6-4, 6-2, Juan Martin del Potro defeated Gilles Muller 6-7(5), 7-5, 6-3, 7-5 and Marin Cilic downed No. 11 seed David Ferrer 7-6(5), 6-3, 6-4.
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