Naomi Osaka crashed out of the third round of the WTA and ATP Miami Open on Saturday as Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) exacted revenge for a painful Australian Open defeat with a 4-6, 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 victory.
World No. 1 Osaka had looked in little danger after winning the first set and moving a break ahead in the second, but Taiwan’s Hsieh, who was a set and 4-1 up in Melbourne earlier this year before losing to the Japanese star in the third round, battled superbly.
The 27th-seeded Hsieh raised her fist and broke into tears after she beat the world No. 1 in a 2 hour, 18 minute match.
“This was a very emotional win for me,” said Hsieh, whose 39 winners were one fewer than her opponent’s. “Any time you beat one of the top players it is amazing.”
It was Hsieh’s fourth victory over a top-five player in the past 14 months.
“It was very tough because last time I give [Osaka a] lot of double-faults,” Hsieh said, according to the WTA’s Web site. “This time, I’m thinking: ‘Okay, I try to put more balls in,’ and I do good.”
“Last time, I think she tried to change the rhythm on the match,” Hsieh said. “This time I tried to focus on myself more. I know I [was] leading a lot last time and I lose the match. I was thinking, no matter what happens, I focus [on] what I need to do, then I try. I did it.”
Hsieh was down a break in each of the final two sets in Saturday’s match and at one point was two points away from defeat, with Osaka serving at 5-4, 30-0 in the second set.
However, just as Hsieh failed to close out a 40-0 service game when she was up 7-5, 4-2 against Osaka in Melbourne, the Japanese fell flat in Miami, serving two double faults in the next three points and sending a backhand wide to allow Hsieh to climb back into the match.
The key this time was to “just never give up. I fight until the last point,” Hsieh said.
Osaka was coming off a fourth-round exit at Indian Wells, but Hsieh’s coach said her victory was not all that surprising.
“She has enough experience to stay strong and you saw that,” said French coach Frederic Aniere, who has worked with Hsieh for the past two years and is also her boyfriend. “Yes it’s huge, but for her it’s not a big surprise.”
Osaka’s second-round win over Belgian Yanina Wickmayer on Friday saw a second-set wobble from the two-time Grand Slam-winning star and it was more of the same against Hsieh, who simply refused to give up.
“I was kind of immature because I was thinking too much, like everything was on my racquet Osaka said. “I got ahead of myself.
“Of course I want to win every match and I think I have dealt with people always asking me if I am going to win because I have number one next to my name,” the Japanese player said. “I thought I was doing fine with that, but I guess I am not.”
The 33-year-old Hsieh is to play Caroline Wozniacki in the fourth round of the women’s draw, which now looks wide open following Osaka’s defeat and former world No. 1 Serena Williams’ surprise departure on Saturday with a previously undisclosed left knee injury.
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