Fri, Mar 27, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Lu Yen-hsun’s Miami bid cut short by injury

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP and AFP, MIAMI

Victoria Azarenka of Belarus returns to Spain’s Silvia Soler-Espinosa in their Miami Open women’s singles match in Key Biscayne, Florida, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

A neck injury saw Lu Yen-hsun’s Miami Open challenge end almost before it had begun on Wednesday as the Taiwanese No. 1 crashed out of the first round of the men’s singles.

World No. 62 Lu was trailing 1-5 to world No. 44 Donald Young when the injury forced the Taiwanese player to retire in just 23 minutes in Miami, with the American progressing to the second round, where he faces third seed Andy Murray of Britain.

Lu’s early departure means Taiwanese hopes in Florida now rest on the shoulders of the women, with Hsieh Su-wei and Chan Hao-ching hoping to improve on their performances in Indian Wells, California, two weeks ago, when they both crashed out in the first round of the women’s doubles.

Fourth seeds Hsieh and Flavia Pennetta of Italy have been drawn against wild-card pairing Alize Cornet of France and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the first round and they will be hoping to improve on their first match as a partnership, when they fell to a 6-1, 3-6, 10-8 loss to Klaudia Jans-Ignacik of Poland and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia in the first round at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden.

Chan and her partner, former world No. 1 Jelena Jankovic of Serbia, have been drawn against Spanish duo Arantxa Parra Santonja and Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

Chan, who is the world No. 32 in doubles, and Jankovic also crashed out of the first round in California, falling to a 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 10-5 defeat to German duo Sabine Lisicki and Andrea Petkovic.

In the women’s singles on Wednesday, two-time Miami Open champion Victoria Azarenka easily advanced to the second round, beating Soler-Espinosa 6-1, 6-3.

World No. 36 Azarenka, the 2009 and 2011 winner from Belarus, is playing in Miami for the first time since 2012. She missed the 2013 tournament with a right-ankle injury and sat out last year with a left-foot injury.

“It’s been unfortunate the last couple of years for me, but I love this tournament,” said Azarenka, a two-time Australian Open champion. “I’m just looking forward to build my momentum here again and try to play as many matches as possible.”

The left-foot injury plagued Azarenka throughout last season, limiting her to nine tournaments. This year, she reached the Doha final last month.

Azarenka took a 4-1 lead in the first set, before Soler-Espinosa held serve in the fifth game.

In the second set, Azarenka initially trailed 3-1, before winning the next five games to close out the match.

“I think it was a pretty good first set,” Azarenka said. “Second set, there were a bit too many mistakes in the beginning.”

Nicole Vaidisova of the Czech Republic, who has had two shoulder surgeries in the past five years, won her first WTA Tour match since the Memphis tournament in February 2010.

The world No. 328, who had a career-high ranking of seventh in 2007, beat Hungarian qualifier Timea Babos 6-1, 7-6 (7/4).

“I think I just wanted to give it my all and have no regrets if I can,” Vaidisova said. “I’m trying to do everything as good as possible.”

World No. 45 Sloane Stephens posted a 6-1, 6-3 win over Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium.

Stephens, who has returned to living in South Florida from Los Angeles, is working again with coach Nick Saviano.

Wickmayer made 35 unforced errors, while Stephens had only 16. Stephens broke Wickmayer’s serve five times in the match.

“I thought I played really well,” Stephens said. “Obviously, playing in South Florida is always great for me. Being home and having the home crowd is really nice.”

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