Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Lu stuns Lopez in Nottingham

AT HOME:Following the upset victory, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun told the ‘Nottingham Post’ how having friends who live in the city helps him relax at the Aegon Open

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP, NOTTINGHAM, England

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun returns to Feliciano Lopez of Spain in their Aegon Open third-round singles match at Nottingham Tennis Centre in Nottingham, England, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun stunned third seed Feliciano Lopez at the Aegon Open in Nottingham, England, on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals of the Wimbledon warm-up tournament.

World No. 61 Lu saved both break points the world No. 16 created in the first set and converted one of three to claim a 6-3 advantage.

The Taiwanese then broke the Spaniard again in the first game of the second set and never looked back, converting another of the two further break points he created to complete a shock 6-3, 6-2 victory over the Spaniard on the grass courts at the Nottingham Tennis Centre in just 1 hour, 6 minutes.

It was Lu’s first victory over the Spaniard in three attempts, advancing the Taiwanese to a quarter-final against world No. 75 Alexandr Dolgopolov, against whom he also has a 0-2 career record, after the Ukrainian’s 6-3, 6-3 win over seventh seed Dominic Thiem of Austria.

Lu told the Nottingham Post that the quality of his return had proved decisive.

“I played very good,” Lu said. “I had to hold my service game and my return was good, too. My contact with the ball was good and I was hitting the winner from the return also. This helped me a lot in terms of breaking the serve. Once you’ve done that, you then have a lot more confidence, but tomorrow will be a different player. Feliciano is somebody who comes to the net, but Alexandr will try to change the speed. It will be a different game.”

Lu also told the Post how friends who live in the city had helped him relax for the tournament.

“I am very lucky in that I have friends here and I stay in their house rather than the hotel, which can be boring,” Lu said. “They live 15 minutes away. This week I have at least somebody to speak my own language. It’s not just tennis. We talk [about] other things and it helps you relax.”

“My friends help me go places, such as the restaurants, and help me kill time when I am doing the laundry,” he said. “I like Nottingham because it’s not big. It’s a nice tournament. You don’t feel the pressure. It’s very relaxed. It’s good preparation for Wimbledon.”

In Wednesday’s other third-round matches, Gilles Simon maintained his impressive form ahead of Wimbledon by easing to a straight-sets win over Joao Sousa.

Second seed Simon, who was a semi-finalist on the grass at Queen’s Club in London last week, won 6-4, 6-1 in 1 hour, 13 minutes to set up a last-eight match against Sam Querrey of the US.

Simon’s chances of a first grass-court title improved after David Ferrer, the top seed at Nottingham, was eliminated in the second round by unseeded Marcos Baghdatis on Tuesday.

“My tennis is in great shape, physically I’m good,” the world No. 13 said. “This is the kind of practice I would want to have before a [Grand] Slam, so I feel good right now.”

Baghdatis, the Australian Open runner-up in 2006, beat Alexander Zverev of Germany 6-3, 6-3 and was due to face Simone Bolelli.

Also through to the quarter-finals were Denis Istomin of Uzbekistan and fourth seed Leonardo Mayer of Argentina.

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