TENNIS/Taiwan trails France in first day of Davis Cup Finals qualifier
Taipei, Feb. 3 (CNA) Taiwan's top player Hsu Yu-hsiou (許育修) and world No. 238 Wu Tung-lin (吳東霖) on Saturday lost to their French opponents, leaving Taiwan trailing France on the first day of the 2024 Davis Cup Finals.
World No. 230 Hsu, who is Taiwan's top player in the men's singles category, was first to play on Saturday.
Hsu faced world No. 68 Luca Van Assche in a first two sets game, with the Taiwanese player losing to his 19-year-old French counterpart in straight sets 6-4, 6-4.
"(I) had prepped to win, but the results weren't all that satisfactory," Hsu said in a post game interview, explaining that he and his team had set a number of offensive strategies which did not pay off. "The match technically concluded how I expected it would," Hsu said. "But I think it could have gone better."
However, Hsu also said while he lost, the match was a learning experience for him, as he was able to observe how one of the world's top 100 players reacted during critical moments during sets.
Following Hsu, Wu took on world No. 17 Adrian Mannarino.
The two also played a best of three sets match, with the Taiwanese player losing to his 35-year-old opponent 6-3, 7-5.
With the losses of both Hsu and Wu, Taiwan is currently at a disadvantage in the remaining qualifying matches in Taipei this weekend for the 2024 Davis Cup Finals.
The team that wins three out of five matches advances to the 2024 finals, where it joins the 2023 finalists (Australia and Italy) and the two wild cards (Great Britain and Spain) in a 16-nation line-up.
France only needs one more win on Sunday, when Hsu will pair with Taiwanese veteran Jason Jung (莊吉生) in a doubles match against Nicolas Mahut and Edouard Roger-Vasselin.
If Taiwan is able to end France's current winning streak, Hsu and Wu will then play the final two singles matches for Taiwan.
Prior to the matches, all available tickets to the Taipei Tennis Center were bought up by tennis fans.
On being cheered on by almost 3,000 fans inside the center, Hsu said the experience left quite an impression on him.
"It is great that so many supporters came to cheer for me and Taiwan," Hsu said. "I've had experiences with having a big crowd at a competition, but they weren't all supporting me. I really enjoyed playing like that."
The Davis Cup is described by organizers as the "World Cup of Tennis," and Taiwan is for the first time, one of the 24 teams vying for a spot in the finals to be held in Spain in September.
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