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October 12, 2009

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Home » Sports » Tennis

Zeng storms into 2nd round with Sela win

WORLD No. 396 Zeng Shaoxuan of China stunned 44th-ranked Dudi Sela of Israel 2-6, 6-1, 6-4 to reach the second round of the Shanghai ATP Masters 1000 yesterday, giving local fans plenty to cheer as the nine-day event officially kicked off at the Qizhong Tennis Center in suburban Minhang District.
A nervous Zeng conceded the first set tamely but improved on his first-serve percentage and began moving around the court smoothly to jump to a 4-0 lead in the second. Sela's weak second serve then gave China's top-ranked player enough points to clinch the set at 6-1.
The decider went level until 4-4 when Zeng won the break in the crucial ninth game after seven deuces, and then served for the set and the match.
"I think the key factor today was the crowd. They were always cheering for me," Zeng said. "China's male players lack confidence, and the cheers are very helpful for me."
As one of the two Chinese wildcard holders, Zeng emphasized that the opportunity of playing against top stars is the key to progress for the country's male players.
Zeng set up a second-round clash with world No. 5 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, who won the Tokyo event yesterday and has a bye in the first round. "I haven't thought about the match yet, I just want to enjoy the win today. To have one more match is a good opportunity for me to practise and train," the Chinese ace said.
In other first round matches yesterday, Feliciano Lopez of Spain beat compatriot Guillermo Garcia-Lopez 6-3, 6-4 while Igor Kunitsyn of Russia overcame compatriot Igor Andreev 6-7 (6), 6-4, 6-2. Andreas Beck of Germany also advanced after Argentina's Jose Acasuso retired.
In the qualifiers, Thomaz Bellucci, Michael Llodra, Lukasz Kubot, Fabio Fognini, Florian Mayer, Rainer Schuettler and Marco Chiudinelli all made their way to the first round.
Eleven singles and four doubles matches will be played at Qizhong today, with a clash between two wildcard holders the highlight.
China's Gong Maoxin will take on crowd-favorite Marat Safin at the Stadium Court this evening. Safin, who lost to Rafael Nadal at the China Open in Beijing last week, will retire at season's end.


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