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Lu Upsets Verdasco; Lopez Sets Federer Clash

Madrid, Spain

World No. 55 Yen-Hsun Lu overturned the form guide Tuesday as he notched just his fourth tour-level win of the season by defeating Spanish No. 15 seed Fernando Verdasco 7-6(7), 7-5 in the first round of the Mutua Madrid Open.

The Chinese Taipei player lost his first seven matches of the season and had fallen in the first round of qualifying for the Serbia Open 2011 in Belgrade last week. In contrast, Madrid native Verdasco came into his hometown tournament on the strength of reaching the Estoril Open final this past Sunday.

However, it was Lu who performed the better on his debut at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 clay-court tennis tournament. After surrendering a 5-2 lead in the first set, the 27 year old kept his composure and prevailed in the tie-break. He then broke serve in the 11th game of the second set and served out victory in just over two hours.

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Verdasco’s fellow Madrid native Feliciano Lopez fared better as he set a second-round clash with two-time former champion Roger Federer. The left-hander came from a set down to defeat Canadian Milos Raonic 4-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in two hours and four minutes.

World No. 39 Lopez has been in a rich vein of form in the past two weeks, reaching the quarter-finals in Barcelona (l. to Dodig) and the final in Belgrade (l. to Djokovic), and withstood 23 aces from the fast-improving Raonic to record his 15th win of the season.

"I play tennis and train everyday to play matches like the one tomorrow and against the players like the ones here, the best player in history, it’s really a pleasure," said Lopez, looking ahead to his clash with Federer. "I'm in a very good moment and I've had a very good season on clay and what matters most is the moment because there are incredible moments in everyone's career and you’ve got to play against Federer and try to face him. I'll try to play as well as I did today and if I do I will have many opportunities."

World No. 22 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga backed up his first-round upset win over Nicolas Almagro by reaching the third round with a 6-4, 6-2 victory over Spanish qualifier Pere Riba. It is the first time since Marseille in February that the Frenchman has won back-to-back matches. 

After edging Mardy Fish in a third set tie-break in his first-round match, John Isner could not repeat the feat against Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky as he was beaten 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(3). The American dropped to a 19-10 lifetime record in deciding final set tie-breaks. The No. 38-ranked Stakhovsky, who had also needed to win a third set tie-break to prevail in the first round, improved to a 13-9 match record on the season.

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