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Tuesday September 25, 2012

Malaysian Open: Pospisil steals the show as Wang eases into second round

KUALA LUMPUR: Wildcard Jimmy Wang of Taiwan eased into the second round of the Malaysian Open ATP 250 tennis championship but it was unknown Canadian youngster Vasek Pospisil who stole the limelight on the first day of action at the Putra Stadium in Bukit Jalil.

The 22-year-old Pospisil, ranked No. 122 in the world, the lowest of the main draw entries, earned his spot in the second round after eighth seed Jurgen Melzer of Austria retired due to a left thigh injury.

But Pospisil deserves the plaudits. He played excellent tennis from the baseline to take the first set 6-4 and was leading 2-0 in the second when Melzer, a quarter-finalist last year, withdrew.

The lanky Pospisil, who has beaten top players such as world No. 10 John Isner of the US, Italian Andreas Seppi (No. 25) and Argentina’s Juan Ignacio Chela, was, however, surprised with the manner in which he qualified for the next round.

“It was a surprise because I didn’t know Melzer was hurting,” said Pospisil.

Wang, dubbed the Taiwanese Prince of Tennis after a sensational junior career in which he was ranked No. 3 in the world, did not face much resistance from Italian qualifier Riccardo Ghedin, winning 6-3, 6-3.

It was a good result for the 27-year-old who almost quit the sport after struggling with a wrist injury five years ago before making a comeback in 2010 following double wrist surgery.

Wang, who was born in Saudi Arabia, controlled the first set and was comfortable throughout as Ghedin looked exhausted having played a tough qualifying match on Sunday.

Wang will now take on second seed and world No. 12 Juan Monaco of Argentina.

“It was the first time I was playing Ghedin and I took some pointers from his match in the qualifiers,” said Wang.

“It will also be my first meeting with Monaco and he’s a very good player. All I know is that I’m lucky that we are not playing on clay.”

In other matches, national No. 1 Ariez Elyaas was clearly out of his depth in his first ATP appearance as he was crushed 6-2, 6-1 by Dutch player Igor Sijsling.

The 19-year-old Ariez got off to a good start by breaking Sijsling’s serve in the third game but it was all downhill from there on as he failed to cope with the physical demands of the match.

Results

First Round: Igor Sijsling (Hol) bt Ariez Elyaas (Mas) 6-2, 6-1; Jimmy Wang (Tpe) bt Riccardo Ghedin (Ita) 6-3, 6-3; Vasek Pospisil (Can) bt Jurgen Melzer (Aut) 6-4, 2-0, rtd; Michael Yani (US) bt Brian Baker (US) 6-3, 7-6 (7-4). Results

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