Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun crashed out of the first round of the Australian Open yesterday when Russia’s Andrey Rublev rallied from a set down to earn a 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/0), 6-3 victory at Melbourne Park.
The Moscow-born world No. 156 mixed 19 aces with six double faults, converting four of seven break points in winning 137 of the 259 points contested to wrap up the victory in 2 hours, 50 minutes.
Taipei-born Lu, ranked 61st in the world, had his chances, but managed to convert only three of the 22 break points he created to exit the first Grand Slam of the year on the first day.
Rublev next faces world No. 1 and top seed Andy Murray in the second round.
In the women’s singles, Simona Halep also fell at the first hurdle for a second straight year after the Romanian, hampered by a nagging knee problem, lost 6-3, 6-1 to Shelby Rogers of the US.
Halep, ranked fourth at Melbourne Park, became the first seed to be bundled out of the season-opening Grand Slam, falling to the power-hitting American in 75 minutes.
She sought medical advice after the first set and was seen flexing her left knee throughout the second.
“I had pain at my knee,” Halep told reporters. “For me, in the second set, was difficult to move anymore, but she deserved to win.”
Halep said she had been battling the problem since the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore last year.
“I had some anti-inflammatory [medication] before the match and the previous days,” she said. “I can play about 45, 50 minutes without pain, and then it comes. Today it was about 5-3 in the first set, so then it was tough to fight... and I couldn’t do what I wanted.”
Rogers, who beat former top-10 player Eugenie Bouchard two weeks ago in Brisbane, was overjoyed at her victory and believed making the quarter-finals at Roland Garros last year had helped her confidence.
“The biggest thing I took away from that was just that I can compete with the top players in the world and I’m good enough,” the 24-year-old said.
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