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May 27, 2017

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Lu Yen-hsun bows out in first round of US Open

NEW YORK -- Taiwan's top tennis player Lu Yen-hsun (盧彥勳) came into the final Grand Slam event of the year playing well, but fatigue and a hot Spaniard made his stay in the men's singles draw a short one.

Lu, currently ranked 34th in the world and the only Taiwanese player in the men's singles, lost his first-round encounter on Tuesday to 28th seed Guillermo Garcia-Lopez of Spain 6-4, 6-2, 6-2 in just under two hours.

After a tight first set decided when Garcia-Lopez converted the only break point either player had in the set, Lu tired and could not keep up with his very fit opponent.

"It was like playing against a wall," Lu said after the match. "Garcia-Lopez really played well, and I always felt under pressure."

The always well-conditioned Lu admitted that he could not match the stamina of the Spaniard.

"I felt throughout the entire match that I was always a step slow," he said, suggesting that the long season and playing in a lot of events may have caught up with him.

"The U.S. Open is extremely competitive. Physically or mentally, the best form of preparation is rest, but you can't simply rest (given the nature of the ATP tour)," Lu said.

Lu reached the semifinals of the Winston-Salem Open last week, but admitted after losing his semifinal match to Lukas Rosol that playing matches four days in a row took their toll because he fell off physically and had trouble concentrating as the match went on.

To build up experience and gain ranking points, "the body inevitably pays a price," Lu said.

Although Lu was eliminated from the men's singles, he is entered in the men's doubles and is scheduled to play his first round match on Wednesday.

Lu is also scheduled to throw out the first pitch at Citi Field in New York when the Mets host the Philadelphia Phillies on Taiwan Heritage Night on Saturday.

It will be the first time he has thrown out a first pitch at a major league park, and he said he just wants to make sure he gets the ball to home plate.

On the women's side, Taiwan's only entry in the women's singles draw, Chan Yung-jan, also fell in the first round on Tuesday, losing to Elena Vesnina of Russia 6-0, 7-5.

In a match in which both players had trouble holding the serve, Chan won only two of her nine service games and converted only three of 15 break point opportunities.

Chan, currently ranked 228th in the world, had to win three qualifying matches to make it into the main singles draw. Taiwan's top ranked woman, Hsieh Su-wei (142nd in the world), bowed out in the first round of qualifying.

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