Taiwanese tennis star Lu Yen-hsun crashed out of the South Africa Open in the opening round on Tuesday after a 6-3, 6-3 defeat by Canadian Milos Raonic.
Seeded second for the ATP event behind Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, Lu had no answer to the serves of the 1.96m native of Montenegro that whistled through the high-altitude air at speeds of more than 230kph.
Raonic, who reached the fourth round of the Australian Open in Melbourne last month before losing to eventual semi-finalist David Ferrer from Spain, broke service twice in succession to win the first set.
A single break was sufficient to clinch the second set and a 72-minute match staged in pleasant, partly cloudy conditions which gave way to rain that forced play to be abandoned ahead of the evening schedule.
“I played well today and always felt confident that I would win. It helped that I was involved in the qualifying competition because those two games got me used to the altitude,” Raonic said.
“Reaching the fourth round in Australia was something to be proud of, especially eliminating two seeds before David beat me, but that is history and my focus is on going far in Johannesburg,” he said.
Lu is ranked 37 in the world — 57 places above Raonic — but that was never evident at the Tuscan-style Montecasino entertainment center in a plush northern suburb of the South African financial capital.
While the youngest competitor in the tournament at 20 years and one month won his service games with ease, Lu constantly battled to hold serve and never looking like breaking Raonic.
Raonic, whose backhand slice and forehand were other impressive parts of his arsenal, faces German Simon Greul for a place in the quarter-finals of a tournament won last year by world No. 31 Lopez.
Lopez was due to face Canadian Frank Dancevic in the feature center court match of the evening session, but persistent rain delayed the start of his title defense.
Frenchman Stephane Robert, a surprise finalist in Johannesburg last year was outplayed when falling 6-3, 6-2 to South African Izak van der Merwe.
Others to reach the last 16 included seeds Kevin Anderson of South Africa, Adrian Mannarino of France and Michal Przysiezny of Poland plus Germans Dustin Brown and Denis Gremelmayr.
Former Wimbledon champion Goran Ivanisevic returned to professional tennis on Tuesday in doubles play at the Zagreb Indoors, losing to Slovak opponents in the first round.
The 39-year-old Ivanisevic and Croatia’s top-ranked player Marin Cilic were beaten by Filip Polasek and Igor Zelenay, 7-6, 6-4.
Ivanisevic won Wimbledon in 2001 by beating Australia’s Pat Rafter and retired in 2004. He said he was making a one-time return to professional tennis to promote the tournament in his home country.
“Once is enough, and I won’t be doing it any more,” Ivanisevic said.
In the biggest upset so far at the tournament, Germany’s Daniel Brands beat home favorite Ivo Karlovic 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (1) in the singles.
Earlier, Radek Stepanek easily advanced to the second round by beating Austrian qualifier Stefan Koubek 6-3, 6-2.
AP, SANTIAGO, Chile
Juan Monaco, a two-time finalist in Santiago, was knocked out of the first round of the Movistar Open by fellow Argentine Maximo Gonzalez 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 on Tuesday.
Both players broke serve five times, although it was Gonzalez who came up with two of those key breaks in the final set.