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Lee Hyung-taik Advances to Round of 16 at U.S. Open

Posted September. 03, 2007 03:02,   


After seven years of trying, Lee Hyung-taik, Korea’s biggest tennis star, reached the round of 16 at a grand slam tourney for the second time in his career. Lee, currently ranked 43rd, defeated Andy Murray of Britain, 3-1 (6-3, 6-3, 2-6, 7-5) in the third round of U.S. Open on Saturday.

Lee reached the round of 16 at a grand slam for the first time since his debut at the same event in 2000. He was then ranked 182nd and his feat was called a miracle.

Yesterday’s victory secured $75,000 for Lee in prize money. With that, he has passed the 2-million mark ($202.7338) for the year.

The win against Murray also earned him 150 ranking points, which will push him up in the world rankings. He is likely to rank in the upper 30s, higher than his career peak of 36th.

“It is like a dream come true. I was just dazed back in 2000. It feels different now that I am married with two children,” said Lee in a telephone interview with this newspaper, a hint of excitement obvious in his voice.

After taking a two set lead, Lee lost the third to force a fourth set. Lee nosed ahead in the 4th until the score reached 5-2, but Murray saved a match point and they leveled at 5-5. But the final two games was Lee’s. Lee’s number of service aces was just 5, which fell far short of 15 by his 190 centimeter-tall opponent. His play was more experienced than Murray’s, 11 years his junior: Lee had 22 fewer errors.

Lee suffered pain after the first round. He gave up on long rallies to reduce his physical exhaustion level and instead rushed to the net to volley early.

Lee’s next opponent will be fourth seed Nikolay Davydenko (26) of Russia, who has won all three of his previous matches with a score of 3-0. Lee has had three matches against Davydenko with one win and two defeats.

World No. 1 Roger Federer of Switzerland advanced to the fourth round by defeating big-serving U.S. giant John Isner. Second-seeded and defending champion Maria Sharapova (Russia) lost 1-2 to Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland.