Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - Page 20 News List

Lu launches LA campaign with win

ROUNDING INTO FORM:After a disappointing first half of the season, the Taiwanese player said his improved play from Wimbledon on has helped him ‘believe again’

AFP, LOS ANGELES

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-Hsun emerged victorious from a potentially tricky first-round match on Monday, downing US wild card Robby Ginepri 6-4, 7-5.

Lu needed little more than an hour-and-a-half to defeat Ginepri, who is coming off a serious elbow injury and playing only his second ATP tournament of the year.

However, Lu said he knew Ginepri, owner of three career titles, would be a difficult test, even if an injury layoff has seen his ranking plummet to 370th in the world.

“He just got back, but everyone knows he’s a fighter,” Lu said. “I expected a lot of deuces. I just told myself to be strong, to keep up with him and try to win.”

Lu admitted he found it a bit difficult to adjust to the conditions in Los Angeles after the sticky humidity last week in Atlanta, where he reached the quarter-finals.

However, he was pleased to get through to a second-round clash with third-seeded Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus. The two have played once before, in Kuala Lumpur in 2009, with the Cypriot winning in a third-set tiebreaker.

Lu admitted he wasn’t too happy with the first half of his season, but began to feel things were coming around at Wimbledon.

He was beaten in the third round, but not before posting solid victories over world No. 31 Tommy Robredo and 13th seed Viktor Troicki.

“Going to Wimbledon, I started to play good,” said Lu, ranked 76th. “That helped me start to believe again. Now I have to focus on the summer.”

Juan Martin del Potro is also looking ahead — in particular to the US Open, scene of his breakthrough Grand Slam triumph in 2009.

“I am very excited to come back to New York,” said del Potro, who didn’t get a chance to defend his title at Flushing Meadows last year after a wrist injury cut short his season. “If I could start to play tomorrow I would. First I have very important tournaments before.”

“This tournament, it’s important for me — it will be my first tournament after clay and grass season,” del Potro added.

The Argentinian is the second seed behind American Mardy Fish in the US$619,500 tournament, with Baghdatis and Brazil’s Thomaz Bellucci rounding out the top four, who all have first-round byes.

In other matches on Monday, American Ryan Sweeting turned the tables on Somdev Devvarman, notching a straight-set first-round victory over the Indian who had beaten him in the first round at Atlanta last week.

Sweeting triumphed 6-4, 7-6 (8/6), but Devvarman turned it into a dogfight at the end as he recovered an early second-set break then broke Sweeting in the sixth game to take a 4-2 lead.

Neither player could hold serve for the next three games — until Sweeting held to knot the score at 5-5.

Sweeting needed three match points to put away the tiebreaker and said he was happy to avenge his Atlanta defeat.

“Any time you play Somdev, you know it’s going to be a battle,” the American said.

Additional reporting by staff writer, with CNA

? CROATIA OPEN

AP, UMAG, Croatia

Albert Ramos of Spain defeated eighth-seeded Ivan Dodig 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 in the first round of the -Croatia Open on Monday.

Dodig appeared unable to move freely on court during the third set after the Croatian complained of an ankle injury.

Diego Junqueira of Argentina defeated another Croat, Antonio Veic going down 6-4, 7-5.

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