Seventh seed Lu Yen-hsun of Taiwan began the new year on the wrong foot as he crashed to a first-round defeat in the US$430,000 ATP Chennai Open on Tuesday.
Lu, the 29-year-old veteran ranked 59th in the world, failed to shrug off the rustiness of the off-season to lose to No. 123 Matthias Bachinger of Germany 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
“It took me time to settle down. I made too many mistakes,” said Taiwan’s premier player, who finished in the top 100 for the fifth straight year last year.
The big-built Bachinger next plays Roberto Agut of Spain, who beat Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 7-6 (8-6), 6-2.
There was no early trouble for fifth-seeded Benoit Paire of France, who brushed aside Italian Flavio Cipolla 6-3, 6-4 in 1 hour, 18 minutes.
Paire, one of the most improved players on the circuit after rising from No. 95 to No. 47 last year, was delighted to get his first match out of the way.
“It is nice to start the season with a win,” said the 23-year-old from Avignon, France. “It is not easy to adjust to this hot weather, but I hope to play better in my next match.”
Indian wild card Somdev Devvarman, fit again after an injury-prone year that saw him slip to No. 663 in the rankings, beat No. 106 Jan Hajek of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-3.
“A real positive was that I felt good out there, both physically and mentally,” said Devvarman, who faces top seed Tomas Berdych in the second round today.
“Playing Tomas will obviously be tough, but I am confident I can put up a good show. Besides, I will have the Chennai crowd behind me. They are always so supportive,” he said.
There was further good news for the hosts as qualifier Prakash Amritraj came from behind to defeat Frenchman Guillaume Rufin 6-7 (4-7), 6-2, 6-3 in a tough center-court match.
“The idea was hang in there after losing the first set,” said Amritraj, who was cheered on from the sidelines by his father, Vijay, a former Indian Davis Cup star and now a television commentator. “The first set could have gone my way too, so I was not unduly worried. It was good that I kept up the pressure in the next two sets.”
Amritraj will take on eighth-seeded Japanese Go Soeda next for a place in the quarter-finals.
German qualifier Cedrik-Marcel Stebe beat Igor Sijsling of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-4 to qualify for a second-round match against fourth seed Stanislas Wawrinka of Swizerland.
The top four seeds — Berdych, Janko Tipsarevic, Marin Cilic and Wawrinka — were given byes in the first round.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
‘FUN TIME’: Denver’s Nikola Jokic said that his team would not accept that anyone else is better than them and the opposition need to play much better than they do Just about everyone had LA versus LA written in for the NBA’s Western Conference finals, but the resilient Denver Nuggets have crashed the party. Behind Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, the Nuggets advanced to the conference finals for the first time since 2009 to face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers. Game 1 is scheduled to be played tomorrow. This was no ordinary road. The Nuggets fell behind 3-1 in their first-round series against the Utah Jazz before bouncing back with three straight victories. Then they went down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in the second round before winning in Game 7
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first