Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun recovered from a slow start to advance to the second round of the French Open men’s singles at Roland Garros in Paris yesterday.
World No. 64 Lu recovered from losing the first set to defeat world No. 81 Blaz Kavcic of Slovenia 6-7(4/7), 6-1, 6-1, 7-5 in 3 hours, 1 minute on Court 17 at the second Grand Slam of the year.
In a first set which lasted 57 minutes, Kavcic broke Lu’s serve, only for the Taiwanese to break back and then save two set-point chances at 5-6, before the Slovenian went on to convert his second set-point opportunity of the tiebreaker.
The Taiwanese bounced straight back, breaking Kavcic’s serve twice to claim the second set 6-1 in 28 minutes.
Lu, in total control, then broke the Slovenian’s serve three times and converted his third set-point chance to take the third set 6-1 in 36 minutes.
Kavcic immediately hit back, breaking Lu in the first game of the fourth set, but the Taiwanese broke back and the set went with serve until Kavcic had to serve to save the match at 6-5.
In a marathon game in which both players had numerous chances, Lu closed out the match on his third match-point opportunity to win the set in exactly an hour.
Lu, who served 15 aces and hit 72 winners, saved nine of 11 break-point chances and converted eight of 18 to set up a second-round clash with either 15th seed Kevin Anderson of South Africa or Tim Smyczek of the US.
Fourth seed Petra Kvitova yesterday struggled into the French Open second round, seeing off New Zealand’s world No. 80 Marina Erakovic 6-4, 3-6, 6-4, getting broken six times and committing 47 unforced errors.
The 25-year-old goes on to face either France’s Pauline Parmentier or Silvia Soler-Espinosa of Spain for a place in the last 32.
Spain’s David Ferrer won his 300th clay-court match when he swept past Slovakia’s Lukas Lacko.
Ferrer, seeded seven, won 6-1, 6-3, 6-1 to become just the second active player behind Nadal to win 300 matches on the surface.
Ferrer goes on to face compatriot Daniel Gimeno-Traver.
Croatia’s Marin Cilic, the ninth-seeded US Open champion, defeated Robin Haase of the Netherlands 6-2, 6-4, 6-2.
Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia beat Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands 6-1, 4-6, 6-2.
The US’ misery continued when defeats for Coco Vandeweghe and Taylor Townsend meant 11 US women failed to get out of the first round.
Defending champion Maria Sharapova reached the French Open second round on Monday, but was jeered by fans after she refused to carry out an on-court television interview.
Second-seeded Sharapova defeated Estonian Kaia Kanepi 6-2, 6-4 to set up a clash against Russian Fed Cup teammate Vitalia Diatchenko.
However, the 27-year-old irritated the Philippe Chatrier Court crowd by refusing to carry out the traditional on-court television pleasantries, claiming her voice was not strong enough.
There were no such problems for British third seed Andy Murray, twice a semi-finalist, who took his clay record this season to 11-0 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-1 win over Argentine “lucky loser” Facundo Arguello.
Murray, with clay-court titles in Munich and Madrid, goes on to face either Canadian world No. 53 Vasek Pospisil or Portugal’s 44th-ranked Joao Sousa.
Sloane Stephens ended 15th seed and fellow American Venus Williams’ 18th French Open at the first-round stage with a 7-6(7/5), 6-1 victory.
With her 35th birthday in three weeks’ time, the defeat is certain to place a question mark over the future of seven-time major winner Williams, who was runner-up to her sister Serena in 2002, but has not gone beyond the fourth round since 2006.
Former world No. 2 and 2012 Wimbledon runner-up Agnieszka Radwanska was also a shock first-round loser.
The Polish 14th seed, a quarter-finalist in 2013, went down 6-2, 3-6, 6-1 to Germany’s Annika Beck, a player she defeated 6-0, 6-0 when they met at Indian Wells last year.
The loss was only the third time in 34 Grand Slam tournaments that 26-year-old Radwanska had lost in the first round.
World No. 4 Tomas Berdych, a 2010 semi-finalist, continued his solid clay-court season with a 6-0, 7-5, 6-3 win over Japanese qualifier Yoshihito Nishioka, the world No. 146.
Berdych now faces 36-year-old Davis Cup-winning teammate Radek Stepanek, who became the oldest man to win a match at Roland Garros since 38-year-old Jimmy Connors in 1991 when he saw off Croatian journeyman Ivan Dodig 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1.
Spain’s 11th seed Feliciano Lopez was the biggest men’s casualty when he lost to Russian world No. 74 Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-3, 7-6(11/9), 6-3.
Nineteen-year-old wildcard Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated Georgia’s Nikoloz Basilashvili 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(7/4), 6-2, while 27th seed Bernard Tomic saw off Italy’s Luca Vanni 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Kokkinakis and Tomic are to play for a place in the third round where top seed Novak Djokovic is likely to be waiting.
Nick Kyrgios, the 29th-seeded Australian, eased past Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan 6-3, 6-4, 6-3.
Spanish eighth seed Carla Suarez Navarro beat Romania’s Monica Niculescu 6-2, 6-2.
German 11th seed Angelique Kerber brushed aside Timea Babos of Hungary 6-0, 6-1.
Former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka marked her return by beating Spain’s Marma-Teresa Torrs-Flor 6-2, 6-1.
Croatia’s Ana Konjuh, the youngest woman in the draw at 17, made the next round with a 6-1, 6-4 win over Russian qualifier Margarita Gasparyan.
Meanwhile, a record was set in the clash between Denisa Allertova of the Czech Republic and Britain’s Johanna Konta.
Their first-set tiebreak, which went 19/17 in favor of the Czech, was the longest in tournament history.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
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