World No. 1 Justine Henin brought Hsieh Su-wei's remarkable run at the Australian Open to an end yesterday with a 6-2, 6-2 fourth-round defeat of the 22-year-old from Taipei.
It was the first time a Taiwanese player had progressed so far at a Grand Slam tournament, a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that Hsieh had to win three matches in the qualifying tournament before even making the main draw.
Although things looked ominous when Henin, a seven-time Grand Slam winner, broke Hsieh's serve in the first game of the match, the Taiwanese immediately broke back and won her next service game to love.
She then had a break point in the next game which would have put her 3-1 up but sent a forehand wide and Henin survived the scare.
After that the Belgian began to show the gulf in class that separates her from her 158-ranked opponent.
Henin broke Hsieh's serve in the fifth game and again in the seventh after the Taiwanese had already saved two other break points. Henin then served out the next game to take the set.
The pattern continued in the second set with Henin immediately breaking Hsieh's serve before racing to a 5-0 lead. The Taiwanese saved a match point in the sixth game before surprising everybody by going on to take the game.
She also won the next game to make the score respectable but it was only postponing the inevitable. Henin took her subsequent service game to wrap up the win in 74 minutes.
The Belgian now faces Russia's Maria Sharapova in the last eight.
Meanwhile, Chan Yung-jan and Chuang Jia-jung maintained a Taiwanese presence in Melbourne by beating Laura Granville of the US and Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic in straight sets in the second round of the women's doubles. Chan and Chuang, the No. 3 seeds, cruised past their opponents 6-1, 6-4 yesterday.
Chan also teamed up with Eric Butorac of the US in the first round of the mixed doubles to pull off an impressive victory over No. 4 seeds Jie Zheng of China and Daniel Nestor of Canada. They took the match 7-5, 7-6 in 69 minutes.
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World No. 1 Tai Tzu-ying yesterday eased past her Thai opponent to advance to the second round of the Toyota Thailand Open. The Taiwanese star toppled world No. 46 Supanida Katethong 21-16, 21-11 in 29 minutes at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. “I think I played OK today. I am feeling a little better than last week,” Tai said. Tomorrow, Tai faces Indonesia’s Gregoria Mariska Tunjung. The two have faced each other six times, with Tai beating the world No. 21 in all six matches. Tai on Sunday reached the final of the Yonex Thailand Open before losing decisively against Carolina Marin of Spain.
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Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,