The medal dreams of Taiwanese pair Chuang Chia-jung (莊佳容) and Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) came to an end yesterday as they lost to Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic in the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles in the Olympic tennis competition at Wimbledon.
The Czech No. 4 seeds earned their 6-3, 6-4 victory over the more consistent, but less spectacular Taiwanese women by playing the big points well, converting four of six break points compared with Chuang and Hsieh’s two out of five.
The first set started badly for Chuang, 27, and Hsieh, 26, as the Taiwanese failed to hold their serves and found themselves 0-5 down in what seemed like no time at all. Hsieh then left the court for a lengthy medical timeout and things did not look good when she returned with strapping round the top of her left leg, needing to hold her serve to stay in the set.
Perhaps surprisingly, she did so easily, clinching the game with an impressive forehand winner before Hlavackova dropped her serve in the next game to give Hsieh and Chuang some hope of getting back in contention.
Chuang then served an ace as she held her serve and Hsieh seemed fairly untroubled by her injury, but the revival proved to be a false dawn.
In the next game, Hsieh hit a return wide on the first of two set points and the Czechs were in the driving seat.
The second set started well for the unseeded Taiwanese, though, as Hlavackova was broken in the second game, before Chuang held her serve to leave the Kaohsiung-born duo up 3-0.
However, calamity struck in game five as Hsieh served up the only double fault of the contest by the Taiwanese, before hitting a forehand long on break point to hand the Czechs the game.
Worse was to follow, when a hard-fought seventh game was decided by a good volley at the net by Hlavackova to put the Czechs 4-3 ahead.
Hsieh saved a match point on her own serve in game nine, but a Hlavackova volley at the net in the next game ended the one hour, 22 minute contest.
The Taiwanese had earned their quarter-finals place by beating Italian No. 7 seeds Flavia Pennetta and Francesca Schiavone 6-7 (3), 7-5, 6-4 on Wednesday in a second-round match that had begun on Tuesday, before being halted for bad light.
The victory meant Chuang and Hsieh became the first Taiwanese to reach the last 16 of an Olympic tennis tournament.