Soeda wins Challenger tennis tournament in Delhi

May 24th, 2008 - 8:54 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, May 24 (IANS) Japanese Go Soeda won the $50,000 ATP Challenger tennis tournament Saturday, upsetting the top seed and favourite Yen-hsun Lu of Chinese Taipei in a cliff-hanger here at the DLTA complex. Lu last week defeated Soeda in the semi-final of the SAIL open and later went on to win the tournament. But it was Soeda’s day in this Challenger meet as he played his best to beat Lu in a close three-setter, 6-3,3-6 6-4.

Soeda, seeded fourth, played aggressively and covered his flanks while charging the net. Lu’s baseline play had little effect on the Japanese who easily volleyed beyond his reach. There was a vast improvement in Soeda’s play from the back court, too unlike the last week when Lu had his way from the baseline.

Even though Lu broke early in the first set, Soeda broke back in the fourth and the sixth game to go one set up.

Lu changed his tactics in the second set and came towards the net more often, giving Soeda little time to recover. Lu broke Soeda early in the second game and retrieved every ball to make it a set all.

The final set was keenly contested and both traded breaks till the eighth game. It was at this stage Lu’s racquet strings snapped and the racquet had be to changed more than once. That seemed to have affected the top-seed’s rhythm. Things became easy for Soeda who steadily worked his way through the set and match.

This is Soeda’s third Challenger win this year after winning in Kyoto in March and then in Busan in April. Incidentally, Lu was the finalist in Busan Challenger, though he pulled out after the first set because of injury.

Before this Saturday’s meeting, the head-to-head record between the two was Lu 5 and Soeda 3.

A disappointed Lu said had his racquet not posed a problem in the third set, the result could have been different.

“I could have won. My racquet strings snapped and I didn’t have strings to fix it. The fault is mine, I should have come better prepared. Maybe, it is dirt on the court that affected the strings but such a thing had never happened to me,” said Lu, who will now head to Turkey to play another Challenger and from there will go to Wimbledon.

“I came here to earn some points for the Olympics. I have had a good time here. I won the SAIL Open and reached the final of this Challenger, though it took a toll of me. I was feeling tired of late,” he added.

With this win, Soeda has won $7,200 and 55 ATP points while Lu pocketed $4,240 and 38 ATP points.

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