Lu progresses in Miami; Wang out

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter

Sat, Mar 22, 2014 - Page 20

Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun advanced to the second round of the Sony Open men’s singles in Miami on Thursday after Kazakhstan’s Mikhail Kukushkin retired, while fellow Taiwanese Jimmy Wang put up a fight, but lost a three-set thriller to fellow qualifier Aljaz Bedene of Slovenia.

World No. 50 Lu had a 0-1 career record against his opponent going into his first-round match after a round-of-32 defeat to world No. 56 Kukushkin in Eastbourne, England, in 2011, but he quickly got into his stride, breaking the Kazakh player’s serve to race to a 3-0 lead in the first set.

The players traded service games to make it 4-1, before Lu broke Kukushkin again and then held his serve to win the first set 6-1.

Lu broke Kukushkin again in the second set to take a 3-1 lead, before his opponent retired with a hand injury after 39 minutes.

Lu said after the game that he was pleased with his serve, giving his opponent no chance to dictate the play, and that overall he was very satisfied with his performance.

Lu next faces German veteran and world No. 13 Tommy Haas in the second round. The Taiwanese No. 1 lost to Haas in the second round of the US Open last year.

Taiwan’s Wang and Bedene battled it out for 1 hour, 53 minutes before the Slovenian eventually rallied for a 1-6, 6-2, 6-4 victory.

Bedene fired 18 aces, saved eight of 11 break-point chances and converted four of five to overpower the Taiwanese player and set up a second-round match with 27th-seeded Canadian Vasek Pospisil.

In the women’s doubles, No. 5 seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India very nearly became big-name casualties as they spurned seven match points before finally seeing off Taiwanese duo Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan, 6-3, 6-7 (6/8), 10-8.

Black and Mirza, who lost to doubles world No. 2 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and world No. 1 Peng Shuai of China in the final of the BNP Paribas Open last weekend, next face Georgia’s Oksana Kalashnikova and Alisa Kleybanova of Russia, who battled past Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Chanelle Scheepers of South Africa 6-3, 1-6, 11-9.

Russia’s Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia bounced back from their BNP Paribas Open disappointment to knock out seventh-seeded Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua.

A month ago in Dubai, Kudryavtseva and Rodionova won their fourth — and biggest — doubles title to date, but failed to build on that momentum in Indian Wells, where they slumped to a first-round defeat, and a mid-match revival by Barty and Dellacqua looked like it would consign them to another early exit.

However, Kudryavtseva and Rodionova rallied in the super tiebreak to win five of the final six points and complete a 7-6 (7/2), 3-6, 10-8 victory.

“In the match tiebreak the tennis was just excellent, I thought,” Kudryavtseva told the WTA Web site. “We hit some amazing serves, some really good lobs — it was a really good all-court match.”

Top seeds Hsieh and Peng are due to face Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic in the first round when their campaign gets underway.