Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun crashes out of Citi Open

Staff writer, with AFP, WASHINGTON

Wed, Jul 31, 2013 - Page 20

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun crashed out of the first round of the Citi Open in Washington on Monday after he was beaten 6-4, 6-4 by David Goffin of Belgium.

Goffin mixed five aces with eight double faults in the match and won seven of 12 break-point chances as Lu lasted just 1 hour, 29 minutes at the joint ATP and WTA tournament in the US capital.

In the women’s singles, Sloane Stephens, coming off a quarter-final run at Wimbledon, also crashed in the first round.

The 20-year-old American, ranked 15th in the world and seeded second, was ousted 7-5, 6-3 by Russia’s Olga Puchkova.

“There were some [shots] I really couldn’t believe went that far out,” Stephens said.

“The ball was flying everywhere. I just couldn’t find it. When you don’t practice well it shows. I had a couple rough days, and it showed,” she said.

Stephens is already trying to tamp down US Open expectations after beating current world No. 1 Serena Williams on her way to the Australian Open semi-finals, where she lost to then-world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka.

“If I lose in the first round, don’t be upset,” she said. “It’s going to be my first time there playing under so much pressure and everyone expecting me to do so well. Whatever people say or however they think I should do, they don’t practice with me. I just have to go out and do the best I can.”

Stephens, who took a post-Wimbledon family vacation to Hawaii, also reached the fourth round at the French Open and the last eight at Wimbledon, losing to eventual winner Marion Bartoli.

“I don’t know why I play so well at the Slams and not so well at the rest,” Stephens said. “I can fix these things myself and get ready for next week.”

Mardy Fish, who has missed most of the past year with heart problems, won his first ATP Tour match since March, rallying to outlast Australian qualifier Matthew Ebden 2-6, 6-1, 6-3.

“I still feel a little uneasy and that’s to be expected. It’s not all going to be roses right away,” Fish said. “These will be the sort of situations I have to get through to be 100 percent. These sort of post-traumatic experiences are what I have to get over. A lot of it is mental. A little bit is physical.”

Fish faces French 12th seed Julien Benneteau in the second round.

Australian qualifier Samuel Groth blasted 20 aces to beat Denis Kudla of the US 7-6 (7/2), 6-2 to book a second-round match against big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic, while fellow Aussie Marinko Matosevic ousted another struggling US veteran, James Blake, 6-2, 7-6 (8/6).

“The first set, I really served poorly and he took advantage,” Blake said. “The second set, I fought back and had a chance. I didn’t make my shots when I needed to.”

Women’s defending champion Magdalena Rybarikova rallied to beat Christina McHale of the US 2-6, 6-4, 6-2.

The Slovakian seventh seed faces compatriot Jana Cepelova in the second round, with a possible third-round date against German top seed Angelique Kerber.

“Everyone is looking to beat you and the pressure is also there,” Kerber said. “I just have to try to improve my tennis and I want to play well this week.”