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Lu edges out Khachanov in Classic

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 10/01/2017 Angelo Risso

Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan celebrates after winning his match against Karen Khachanov of Russia. © Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images Yen-Hsun Lu of Taiwan celebrates after winning his match against Karen Khachanov of Russia. Taiwanese veteran Lu Yen-Hsun has used every iota of his experience to grind out a 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9) ASB Classic win over young gun Karen Khachanov.

An underdog from the get-go, the world No.61 kept his cool to put away two key tiebreak shots, one a second-set drop shot and the other a precise match-point forehand.

The 20-year-old Khachanov, meanwhile, showcased plenty of the potential that has seen him dubbed the next Marat Safin but struggled to break Lu's serve.

The Barcelona-based Russian hit an impressive 16 aces but won just 30 per cent of all return points and made 57 unforced errors.

Lu, 33, will now go on to face American seventh-seed Steve Johnson in the second round.

"I'm really happy to come back here and have a good match," Lu said.

Neck and neck in the first set, the world No.51 Khachanov jumped ahead at 4-4 by breaking Lu and going on to successfully serve for the 6-4 set victory.

He broke early in the second set to take control of the match, but was summarily broken back by Lu to leave the set tied at 3-3.

With both players struggling to break serve the set drifted towards a tiebreak, which Lu claimed 7-5 after a cute drop shot facing serve.

The Taiwanese pulled ahead early in the decider, breaking at 1-1 to give himself the edge and holding strong to serve for the match at 5-4.

But Lu wasted the chance, throwing away two match points and committing two double faults as he was broken back by Khachanov.

A marathon deciding tiebreak ensued, which Lu clinched with a precise forehand facing serve to win 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (11-9).

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