London, June 25 (CNA) Taiwan's top men's tennis player has developed a fondness for the grass at Wimbledon. In 2010, Lu Yen-hsun made a stunning run to the quarterfinals of the grand slam event and last year reached the third round.
Coming off some good results in warm-up tournaments on grass, including a quarterfinal appearance at the AEGON Championships in London two weeks ago, Lu anticipated another strong showing at the year's only grasscourt major.
That enthusiasm was tempered by a draw that would have pitted him against world No. 1 Novak Djokovic in the second round -- a likely defeat -- but he had hoped to at least get a shot at the Serb.
Instead, the world No. 56 Lu stumbled in the first round against young American Ryan Harrison in a loss that left him "disappointed" and "dejected," as much because of the way the match progressed as because of the result itself.
Lu got off to a strong start and seemed in control of the match, but his movement was clearly impaired by an apparent injury early in the second set and some poor volleying only set him back further in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 to the world No. 48.
"I had some opportunities for winners that I didn't handle very well, and I didn't make shots I normally make on key points. I also was nicked up a little and after my serve was broken, I got down on myself," Lu said.
One of those chances came at 4-4 in the third set when Lu netted a relatively easy forehand volley that would have given him a 5-4 lead. Instead, Harrison broke him two points later and seemed to control the momentum from then on.
After the match, Lu admitted that a groin injury that had troubled him since the AEGON Championships appeared again and hindered his movement on Monday.
"Although my injury was a lot better by the time I took the court today, I wasn't able to move completely freely," Lu said.
The 28-year-old will get a second chance, however, at the Wimbledon grass this year. The London Olympic Games' tennis events will be played at Wimbledon, and Lu plans to take full advantage in his third Olympic appearance.
"I don't want to just participate in the Olympics, I want to perform well for the country. This may be the last time that I get to represent Taiwan at the Olympics, so I want to make this time count and let Taiwan shine on the international stage," he said.
Lu said he will now prepare hard for the Olympics and adjust his training schedule in the hope of putting his injury behind him.
Lu may have been dejected after his match, but the other Taiwanese in the men's singles draw, world No. 207 Jimmy Wang, said he was happy just to have made the main singles draw through qualifiers after being edged by 17th seed Fernando Verdasco of Spain 7-6 (3), 6-4, 7-5 on Monday.
Wang, sidelined by a serious wrist injury in recent years, had not made the main draw of any grand slam singles event since Wimbledon in 2007, but he said his recent performance had given him a huge confidence boost.
The 27 year old said it was the first time he had ever played Verdasco, and playing a world-class player brought out his best.
"I played my own game rather than following the pace of my opponent," Wang said.
He said there were still parts of his game that needed improvement, especially rising to the occasion on key points, such as the two or three points he said decided Monday's match.
Wang's highest ranking was 85th in March 2006, and he said he hoped to move back into the top 100 again by the end of this year.
(By Jennifer Huang and I-Ling Chen)