Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei, whose singles career has been revived in recent weeks, was sent packing in the first round of the women’s doubles at the BNP Paribas Open on Thursday in the US.
Hsieh and Peng Shuai of China lost to their Czech opponents Iveta Benesova and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in straight sets 6-4, 7-5 in the tournament in Indian Wells, California.
Hsieh, who won the Malaysian Open singles title on March 4, could not make it in time to California to play in the qualifying round of the BNP Paribas women’s singles, but had hoped to do better in doubles, in which she is currently ranked world No. 45.
The 26-year-old won her first ever WTA singles title in Malaysia Sunday after a semi-final finish in a WTA singles event in Thailand two weeks earlier to improve her singles ranking No. 78, matching her career high.
She said after Thursday’s match that she planned to play more singles events in the coming months to try to push her ranking into the 50s and secure a spot in the Olympic Games women’s singles draw. To qualify for the London Games in singles, a player has to be ranked in the top 56 as of June 11 or get one of eight wild cards.
Meanwhile, Taiwanese doubles specialist Chuang Chia-jung, and her partner Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan lost to eighth-seeded American Vania King and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany 7-5, 3-6, 11-9 in the California tournament.
Gisela Dulko, Johanna Larsson and Irina Falconi all advanced to the second round of the BNP Paribas Open tournament in speedy fashion on Thursday when their opponents retired hurt.
Argentina’s Dulko, a quarter-finalist here in 2004 and 2006, breezed through the opening round after winning just one game before Australian Jelena Dokic pulled out with a right wrist injury.
Dulko will next face Russian world number two and 2006 champion Maria Sharapova, who was handed a first-round bye as the second seed.
Swede Larsson advanced when Hungarian qualifier Greta Arn withdrew due to a neck injury, while trailing 4-1 and US wild card Falconi moved past Romania’s Alexandra Dulgheru, who retired hurt at 4-6, 5-2 because of a right knee injury.
Larsson will next meet 15th-seeded Serb Ana Ivanovic, while Falconi, one of 10 players competing in the main draw here for the first time, takes on US Open champion Sam Stosur of Australia, the sixth seed.
Russian Ekaterina Makarova, having recovered from a wrist injury since her surprise quarter-final run at the Australian Open in January, lost serve just once on the way to a 6-2, 6-3 win over American Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
Makarova’s reward is a second-round encounter with defending champion Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark.
In other matches on Thursday, South African Chanelle Scheepers brushed aside Frenchwoman Mathilde Johansson 6-3, 6-3, while Spaniard Silvia Soler Espinosa scraped past Italy’s Alberta Brianti 6-3, 1-6, 7-6.
World No. 1 and Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka of Belarus makes her first appearance of the week in the singles draw when she plays Germany’s Mona Barthel, who she beat on her way to the title in Melbourne, in Friday’s second round.
The men’s side of the draw began play on Thursday as wild card Sam Querrey defeated fellow American Tim Smyczek 7-6 (7/1), 6-4, Poland’s Lukasz Kubot beat Ivo Karlovic, of Croatia, 6-4, 6-2 and Italy’s Andreas Seppi rallied to defeat Olivier Rochus, of Belgium 4-6, 6-3, 6-4
Additional reporting by AFP
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