Mon, Feb 08, 2016 - Page 1 News List

Fed Cup win dedicated to Tainan quake victims

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei celebrates beating Japan’s Nao Hibino in their Fed Cup Asia-Oceania Group I singles rubber in Hua Hin, Thailand, on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of the Siwei Foundation

Chan Yung-jan dedicated Taiwan’s Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group I victory to the victims of Saturday’s earthquake in Tainan, after she teamed up with younger sister Chan Hao-ching to win the decisive doubles rubber against Japan late on Saturday night to complete a 2-1 win.

Taiwan had fallen behind in the match to decide which team would advance to the World Group II playoffs in April when Chang Kai-chen fell to a 6-1, 6-4 loss to Kurumi Nara in just 74 minutes at the True Arena Hua Hin in Thailand.

However, Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei got the team back into the match in the second singles rubber by rallying from a set down to defeat Nao Hibino 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, setting up the decider.

The Chan sisters then claimed a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Japanese duo Shuko Aoyama and Eri Hozumi in 1 hour, 30 minutes to complete the 2-1 victory.

“We’ve successfully concluded the Fed Cup by advancing to the World Group II playoffs. Thank you to all our team members who gave their best to win. Team matches are about combining team strengths and using them to the greatest effect… [Chan] Hao-ching and I would like to dedicate our Fed Cup Asia/Oceania Group 1 title to all our friends affected by the earthquake in Tainan. As we experienced the 921 Earthquake, we know too well what a quake feels like and though we cannot be of assistance, we would like to send positive energy from our hearts and we will continue to pray for everyone [affected],” Chan Yung-jan wrote on Facebook following the team’s victory.

Next up for the Taiwanese players is the inaugural Taiwan Open, which begins in Kaohsiung today.

In the World Group on Saturday, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber was given a hero’s welcome as she marked her return to her homeland with a victory that drew Germany level at 1-1 with Switzerland in the first round.

Seven days after Kerber tamed Serena Williams in the Melbourne Park final, the world No. 2 showed barely any signs of fatigue as she eased past Timea Bacsinszky 6-1, 6-3 to the delight of the home fans.

The tie in Leipzig was one of three World Group showdowns to end level at 1-1 on day one of the competition, while last year’s runners-up Russia had plenty to do on yesterday if they were to progress any further in the women’s team competition as they trailed the Netherlands 2-0.

On the eve of the tie, Netherlands captain Paul Haarhuis said his nation would need “a miracle” to beat four-time champions Russia.

That miracle was only one victory away after Kiki Bertens thumped Ekaterina Makarova 6-3, 6-4, before little-known Richel Hogenkamp hung in for exactly four hours to tame two-time Grand Slam champion Svetlana Kuznetsova 7-6 (7/4), 5-7, 10-8 in the longest-ever Fed Cup match.

Despite being ranked 124 places behind world No. 17 Kuznetsova, Hogenkamp displayed nerves of steel to beat the 2005 record of Puerto Rican Vilmarie Castellvi, who had defeated Aleksandra Wozniak of Canada in 3 hours, 49 minutes.

While Russian captain Anastasia Myskina had to rally her troops, who include Maria Sharapova, to make a strong comeback in Moscow yesterday, other nations were also hoping for better performances from their top players.

Big reputations counted for little in the tussle between champions the Czech Republic and Romania.

The top-ranked players for both nations were beaten as first Romanian world No. 3 Simona Halep went down 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-2 to Karolina Pliskova, then twice Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova missed the chance to put the Czech Republic 2-0 ahead when she was stunned 6-3, 6-4 by Monica Niculescu.

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