Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun, the world No. 68, won his first-round match at the Thailand Open last night, beating Joao Souza of Brazil, ranked No. 102, in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5.
In the second round Lu faces a tougher task as he is scheduled to meet No. 3 seed Gilles Simon of France, who had a bye in the first round.
Earlier, fighting Finn Jarkko Nieminen needed all his physical reserves to knock out Austria’s promising teen Dominic Thiem 6-1, 4-6, 7-5 and advance into the second round.
Nieminen, a finalist in Bangkok last year and runner-up at the French Open, came off his sickbed to face an opponent a dozen years his junior and ranked 1,848th in the world.
Nieminen, the world No. 50, breezed through the opening set in 24 minutes, but dropped the second and lost his serve in the third, before finally closing out victory in two hours with a re-break in the final game.
He now faces Dutchman and seventh seed Robin Haase in the second round.
In other first-round results, two Germans also advanced.
Matthias Bachinger beat Australian qualifier Greg Jones 7-5, 6-4, while Michael Berrer set up a tie with Andy Murray for the second time this season after knocking out Swiss qualifier Marco Chiudinelli 7-6 (7/4), 6-3.
Nieminen, who lost the final a year ago to Spain’s Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, spent three days in bed upon his arrival in Bangkok from a home Davis Cup tie.
The Finn said he began feeling ill an hour after takeoff and by the time he landed he was running a fever. He spent Monday in bed and had to rally to get past the 18-year-old Thiem, who was playing in just his second ATP match.
Nieminen said that after seeing the tournament doctor at the start of the final set, he was cleared to go on and play despite feeling poorly.
“It was not a high-risk situation, there was no way I could have damaged myself,” said the Finn, who may yet have to have his tonsils removed.
? MALAYSIA OPEN
AFP, KUALA LUMPUR
US Open doubles champion Philipp Petzschner took to the court solo yesterday to beat compatriot Mischa Zverev 7-5, 6-3 in the first round of the Malaysian Open.
There were erratic moments in Petzschner’s victory at the Putra Stadium, as the 66th-ranked player got off to flying start against Zverev, 170th in the world, but he lacked the clinical edge to close out the first set.
Also yesterday, India’s Somdev Devvarman defeated Russia’s Mikhail Ledovskikh in two tight sets 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 to set up a second-round tie with former Australian Open finalist and world No. 60 Marcos Baghdatis of Cyprus.
Poland’s Lukasz Kubot overcame Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3 and he is scheduled to face fifth seed Nikolay Davydenko of Russia, who beat Ryan Harrison of the US 6-3, 6-2.
Spain’s Albert Ramos lined up a second-round tie with his fellow countryman and top seed Nicolas Almagro when Mikhail Kukushkin of Kazakhstan retired when he was trailing 4-6, 6-3, 4-2.
Additional reporting by staff writer