Top seeds, world No. 2 Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan and world No. 1 Peng Shuai of China, recorded their second straight 6-1, 6-2 victory in the women’s doubles at the BNP Paribas Open on Sunday to ease into the quarter-finals, while Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun cruised past No. 22 seed Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-2, 6-2 to make the round-of-32 in the men’s singles.
The Taiwanese-Chinese pairing saved both break points they faced, while winning four out of eight break-point chances to overcome Russian duo Alisa Kleybanova and Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Hsieh and Peng’s 80th win together set up a quarter-final encounter with seventh-seeded Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, who they beat in last year’s Wimbledon final.
On the other side of the draw, defending champs and second seeds Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina also had a straight-sets win.
The Russians broke in each set against German pairing Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld for a 6-3, 6-4 victory.
“It was a good match for us,” Makarova told the WTA Web site. “We played against a strong team. We played against them in the Olympics, so we knew [the] team a little bit. It was a difficult match, with a lot of key points. We were just a bit more lucky to win the big points, so we’re really happy to be through.”
“We have great memories from winning here last year,” Makarova said. “We’re really enjoying our time together on court. We’re just trying to stay positive, help each other and support each other.”
The Russian doubles pairing next face No. 5 seeds Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Sania Mirza of India.
Russia’s Svetlana Kuznetsova and Samantha Stosur of Australia also reached the quarter-finals on Sunday, along with Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic.
In the men’s singles, Lu saved all three break points he faced against Germany’s Kohlschreiber, won four of his eight break-point chances and delivered six aces to seal the victory in 68 minutes and set up a round-of-32 clash with big-serving 12th seed John Isner of the US.
Isner kept the US flag flying in the men’s field with a 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 victory over former world No. 3 Nikolay Davydenko of Russia.
Isner edged Lu in two tiebreak sets in the final at Auckland in January, but since winning that title, the American has been slowed by an ankle injury.
In other second-round ties, Novak Djokovic made it safely into the third round on Sunday, but said his straight-sets win over Victor Hanescu left room for improvement.
The world No. 2 and second seed — a two-time winner in the California desert — saved all five break points he faced on the way to a 7-6 (7/1), 6-2 victory.
“It was one of those days where you get to serve well and everything else is just kind of trying to find the way to play the right shots at the right time,” said Djokovic, who notched his seventh win over the 87th-ranked Romanian in as many career meetings. “I didn’t make any returns in the first set. [In the] second set I also struggled with the return, which is one of my better sides in the game, generally speaking.”
Djokovic, who won at Indian Wells in 2008 and 2011, has played sparingly this season, falling in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open to eventual champion Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland and losing in the semi-finals at Dubai to another Swiss, Roger Federer.
The Serb did not get a break chance in the opening set, but dominated the tiebreaker and took a quick 3-0 lead in the second. He said he would be working on a few things before his third-round match against Colombian Alejandro Gonzalez, a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (7/5) winner over Croatian Ivan Dodig.
Also on Sunday, Roberto Bautista Agut of Spain bounced fourth-seeded Tomas Berdych 4-6, 6-2, 6-4.
Bautista, ranked 53rd in the world, used a punishing ground game to notch his third career win over a top-10 player.
“I played unbelievable,” Bautista said. “I was not serving very well, I had to play my best tennis from the baseline to win the match.”
The 28-year-old Czech, an Australian Open semi-finalist who won in Rotterdam this year, arrived in California after a runner-up finish to Federer in Dubai and was at a loss to explain his off-key outing.
“Anything I touched today was basically bad and was wrong,” Berdych said. “Definitely my worst match that I had this year.”
Men’s sixth seed Juan Martin del Potro had been slated to open his campaign, but the Argentine withdrew with a left-wrist injury.
In the women’s singles action, second-seeded Agnieszka Radwanska of Poland led the way into the fourth round.
Radwanska, ranked third in the world, thumped 48th-ranked German Annika Beck 6-0, 6-0.
Beck did what she could to make a stand — notably in the fourth game of the second set, which went to deuce seven times — but was unable to get on the scoreboard in a match that lasted just 67 minutes.
Radwanska next faces France’s Alize Cornet, who battled for 3 hours, 26 minutes to beat the 14th-seeded Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-7 (4/7), 7-5, 6-3.
It was the second-longest match on the WTA Tour this year, after Maria Sharapova’s 3 hour, 28 minute win over Karin Knapp at the Australian Open.
Cornet fought off triple match points, serving 4-5, 0-40 in the second set en route to the victory.
“I don’t know how I won this match,” the Frenchwoman said, adding that fatigue may have worked in her favor in the third set. “The good thing when you are tired is you don’t ask too many questions, you just hit the ball. That’s better for me.”
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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