Hsieh Su-wei and Sania Mirza wasted no time on their debut as a pairing at a Grand Slam yesterday, cruising into the second round of the women’s doubles in just 48 minutes at the Australian Open.
The second-seeded Taiwanese-Indian duo did not allow Maria Irigoyen of Argentina and Romina Oprandi of Switzerland a single break-point opportunity, while converting five of their seven chances to complete a 6-2, 6-0 victory in which the second set lasted just 18 minutes.
Mirza, who claimed the world No. 5 ranking from Hsieh after her victory with Bethanie Mattek-Sands in the Sydney International women’s doubles final on Saturday last week, said she is having a great start to the season.
“Being in top five of the world in any field feels amazing, and it’s wonderful to have achieved my career-best rank this week, but if I stay away from injuries, I feel I could go further in the coming months,” Mirza told the Press Trust of India.
World No. 6 Hsieh and Mirza next face Gabriela Dabrowski and Alicja Rosolska after the Canadian-Polish pairing defeated Mirza’s former partner Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Zheng Saisai of China 6-1, 6-4 in their first-round match yesterday.
It was not such good news for Chan Hao-ching, though, after the Taiwanese and Kveta Peschke of the Czech Republic fell to a shock 6-3, 6-2 defeat in their first-round match to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Australia’s Sam Stosur.
The eighth seeds converted the one break-point chance they created, but their opponents converted four of eight to complete the straight-sets victory in 1 hour, 1 minute.
There was also bad news in the men’s doubles, with Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun and Dusan Lajovic of Serbia falling to a 6-3, 6-7 (3/7), 6-3 loss to Jonathan Erlich of Israel and Treat Huey of the Philippines.
Lu and Lajovic converted one of three break-point opportunities, but their opponents converted three of 11 to complete the victory in 1 hour, 49 minutes.
In the singles Roger Federer worked his way out of trouble to advance to the third round, while Andy Murray maintained his hold over local players.
Swiss Grand Slam master Federer was stung into action after losing the first set to reel in Italian Simone Bolelli in four sets and take his place in the seeded round.
Second seed Federer, chasing his fifth Australian Open title, problem-solved his way to a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2 win over Bolelli and faces another Italian, Andreas Seppi, in the third round.
The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who developed a mystery swollen finger during the contest, lost the opening set after the only break on his serve, but he found a solution and swept through the next three sets.
“It’s always a good feeling fighting your way out of a match, winning the last three sets convincingly and actually playing really positive tennis,” Federer said. “Today I had to do some adjustments because he was doing things very well. By figuring things out it’s a great feeling to have once you’ve got it.”
Federer has always made the third round in 16 attempts in Melbourne and has reached the semi-final stage for the past 11 Australian Opens.
The Swiss legend was nonplussed by a swollen finger that might have been caused by a bee sting.
“It’s the weirdest thing. I don’t know. I feel it on the tip of my finger. I feel like it’s numb and swollen,” he said.
Murray, a three-time runner-up in Melbourne, extended his record against Australian opponents to 10-0 with a consummate straight sets victory over Marinko Matosevic.
The British sixth seed had few problems in winning 6-1, 6-3, 6-2 in 1 hour, 42 minutes and faces Portugal’s Joao Sousa next.
Elsewhere, Grigor Dimitrov overcame Lukas Lacko in four sets and seventh seed Tomas Berdych accounted for Jurgen Melzer.
Bulgaria’s Dimitrov reached the third round after downing Lacko 6-3, 6-7 (10/12), 6-3, 6-3 and is to play former finalist Marcos Baghdatis.
Rising Australian younger Nick Kyrgios advanced with a four-set win over big-serving Ivo Karlovic.
World No. 3 Rafael Nadal survived a massive scare in a late game before winning a gruelling five-setter against US qualifier Tim Smyczek 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2/7), 6-3, 7-5.
Among the women, seventh seed Eugenie Bouchard demolished Dutchwoman Kiki Bertens 6-0, 6-3 to power into the third round.
Other winners were Carina Witthoeft, Peng Shuai, Ekaterina Makarova, Yaroslava Shvedova, Julia Goerges, Irina-Camelia Begu, Lucie Hradecka, Karolina Pliskova, Maria Sharapova, Yanina Wickmayer, Sara Errani, Caroline Garcia, Zarina Diyas and Bethanie Mattek-Sands.
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Growing concern over health standards in e-sports has prompted a new federation to pledge to address the problem, as players fall victim to conditions ranging from wrist injuries to obesity, stress and diabetes. The retirement of top Chinese player Jian Zihao, better known by his gaming handle “Uzi,” sent tremors through the booming sport, whose revenues are predicted to reach US$1.1 billion this year, according to industry analyst Newzoo. The 23-year-old, hailed as an “icon” of the League of Legends game, stepped away from e-sports in June, saying that “chronic stress, obesity, irregular diet, staying up late and other reasons” had given