Wed, May 30, 2012 - Page 20 News List

Lu exits in thriller at Roland Garros

MARATHON MAN:Lu Yen-hsun was two sets and match point down, but the Taiwanese rallied to take the match into a fifth set, before losing out to Jeremy Chardy

Staff writer, with AFP and Reuters, PARIS

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun returns to Jeremy Chardy of France in their French Open men’s singles first-round match at Roland Garros in Paris, France, yesterday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun exited the French Open men’s singles in the first round yesterday, but not before thrilling the crowd in Paris in his match against local favorite Jeremy Chardy.

Chardy eventually defeated Lu 6-4, 6-1, 6-7 (3/7), 3-6, 11-9 after the Taiwanese fought back from two sets and match point down to take the first-round match the distance.

As the score suggests, Chardy got off to a flyer at Roland Garros, but Lu managed to drag himself back into the match in the latter stages, with the two finishing fairly evenly matched.

Chardy hit 68 winners compared with Lu’s 49, but the Frenchman also committed 69 unforced errors as opposed to Lu’s 57.

Lu’s serve was also slightly more reliable, but with the backing of the crowd in Paris Chardy eventually won through after a marathon that lasted more than four hours.

Three former women’s Grand Slam champions and a young British hope also reached the second round yesterday, as Rafael Nadal, seeking a record seventh men’s crown, made his entrance.

Maria Sharapova whipped Romania’s Alexandra Cadantu 6-0, 6-0 in just 48 minutes as the Russian second seed, seeking to lift the only major she has never won, cruised toward a meeting with Japan’s Ayumi Morita for a place in the last 32.

Morita defeated Polona Hercog of Slovenia 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

Clad in black and seeking her third clay-court title of the season, Sharapova was no match for a 74th-ranked rival facing a top-10 opponent for the first time in a career which stalled in 2008 amid financial problems.

The outclassed Romanian failed to hit a single winner.

Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, the fourth-seeded Czech, thrashed Australia’s Ashleigh Barty 6-1, 6-2 in 54 minutes to join Sharapova in the next round, where she meets either Urszula Radwanska of Poland, who defeated Pauline Parmentier of France 6-4, 6-3.

Also marching on was 2010 champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, seeded 14, who defeated Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-1.

Schiavone, last year’s beaten finalist, advanced to a meeting with Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria, after she rallied to beat Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 3-6, 6-0, 6-3, after ousting Date-Krumm — a decade her elder — who could not stay the pace after breaking serve in the opening game on a sparsely-populated, but sunny Philippe Chatrier show court.

Guernsey-born Briton Heather Watson, who managed to reach the second round on her debut last year, thereby entering the top 100, got off to a flyer against Russian Elena Vesnina, romping through her opening set, before staying her ground to win 6-2, 6-4 and earn a match-up against Germany’s 25th seed Julia Goerges.

Watson slid around the red dirt as if the clay courts are her back yard, her recently remodeled service clicking beautifully into place — particularly in a first set that saw her not lose a single point on first serve.

Nadal was 6-2, 3-0 up against Italian journeyman Simone Bolelli as at press time, while British fourth seed Andy Murray was starting his campaign later yesterday against Japan’s Tatsuma Ito.

An early men’s winner was Spanish sixth seed David Ferrer, who dismissed Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.

On Monday, Novak Djokovic’s bid for an historic Grand Slam enjoyed the perfect start.

Djokovic, bidding to become only the third man to hold all four majors at the same time and the first in 43 years, eased past Italian clay-court specialist Potito Starace 7-6 (7/3), 6-3, 6-1.

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