Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun advanced in a thriller at the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday, while the tournament lost its first seeded player yesterday when Spaniard Albert Ramos-Vinola was beaten 6-1, 7-5 in the first round by close friend and training partner Joao Sousa.
Lu defeated Karen Khachanov of Russia 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 7-6 (11/9) in their first-round encounter despite battling illness.
Lu posted a Chinese-language report on Facebook that said the travel from India to Auckland made it difficult, but he was happy to prevail.
Lu faces Steve Jason of the US today.
Ramos-Vinola and Portugal’s Sousa — both based in Barcelona, but supporters of the city’s rival soccer clubs — described their match as “a kind of a derby.”
“On court we are no friends, but off court we are,” Sousa said.
Ramos-Vinola’s main weapon is his powerful forehand, but he lacked accuracy in his first match of the season, missing too many easy points in the first set and making 18 unforced errors to Sousa’s eight. He dropped serve in the fourth game and again in the sixth to lose the first set in 32 minutes.
“I think in the first set I was playing very good tennis, a great level,” Sousa said. “The second set I was keeping the level up, then he started to play a little bit better and I had to come back, but it was good for me. I think I played a great match and I’m really happy to be in the second round finally here.”
Additional reporting by staff writer
Angelique Kerber’s build-up for next week’s Australian Open suffered a setback with the German world No. 1 going down in straight sets to Russian teenager Daria Kasatkina in the second round of the Sydney International yesterday.
On a manic day for the seeded players, 19-year-old Kasatkina won 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 against two-time Grand Slam winner Kerber.
“It’s difficult to explain really. I beat the No. 1 in the world and it doesn’t happen every day,” Kasatkina, ranked 26 in the world, said in a courtside interview.
Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova earlier won an all-Russian battle against Svetlana Kuznetsova to oust the defending champion in straight sets.
Pavlyuchenkova beat world No. 9 Kuznetsova 7-5, 6-3 to set up a quarter-final clash against Canadian Eugenie Bouchard, who caused another upset by defeating No. 3 seed Dominika Cibulkova.
Ninth seed Italian Robert Vinci fell to Czech Barbora Strycova 6-2, 6-3, but former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki bucked the trend with a 6-0, 7-5 win over Kazakh Yulia Putintseva.
AFP, HOBART, Australia
Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung exited the Hobart International yesterday, eliminated from the women’s doubles along with partner Nicole Gibbs of the US, while Elise Mertens, Veronica Cepede, Monica Niculescu and Jana Fett advanced in the second round of the women’s singles.
Chuang and Gibbs were beaten 6-0, 7-5 by Chinese-Canadian pair Yang Zhouxuan and Gabriela Dabrowski in 1 hour, 2 minutes, saving just one of seven break points.
Qualifier Jimmy Wang of Taiwan was eliminated in the first round at the Bangkok Open by Sadio Doumbia of France yesterday.
Doumbia won 6-3, 7-6 (10-8) against the 31-year-old world No. 429, who was born in Saudi Arabia.