Mon, Mar 30, 2015 - Page 18 News List

Hsieh cruises, Chan battles at Miami Open

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP, KEY BISCAYNE, Florida

Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching returns to Spanish duo Arantxa Parra Santonja and Silvia Soler-Espinosa in her Miami Open women’s doubles match with partner Jelena Jankovic of Serbia in Key Biscayne, Florida, on Saturday.

Photo: screen grab from Facebook

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Flavia Pennetta of Italy cruised into the second round of the women’s doubles at the Miami Open on Saturday, while Taiwanese-Serbian duo Chan Hao-ching and Jelena Jankovic also advanced in a tough opening encounter.

Fourth seeds Hsieh and Pennetta, playing just their second match as a partnership, eased to a 6-1, 6-3 victory over wild-cards Alize Cornet of France and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in just 47 minutes at Crandon Park.

The Taiwanese world No. 9 and the Italian world No. 15 saved four of five break-point opportunities and converted five of seven to complete a comfortable victory and set up a second-round clash with Monica Niculescu of Romania and Alexandra Panova of Russia, who defeated Lisa Raymond of the US and Sam Stosur of Australia 6-2, 6-3 in the first round.

Chan and former world No. 1 Jankovic had a much tougher time against Spanish pairing Arantxa Parra Santonja and Silvia Soler-Espinosa, eventually emerging 7-5, 6-4 victors in 1 hour, 22 minutes.

Chan and Jankovic saved six of 10 break-point chances and converted six of 11 to set up a second-round match against eighth seeds Caroline Garcia of France and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who defeated Monica Puig of Puerto Rico and Heather Watson of Britain 6-3, 6-3.

In the women’s singles, Serena Williams punctuated points with theatrics worthy of a Grand Slam final. There were squeals, knee kicks, pirouettes and fist pumps, sometimes all at once.

In other words, Williams appeared to be 100 percent.

Showing no lingering effects from a recent knee injury, the seven-time Key Biscayne champion won her opening match at the Miami Open on Saturday, beating Niculescu 6-3, 6-1.

The match was the first for Williams since she withdrew before the semi-finals at Indian Wells in California the previous week, citing a right knee problem. She played without a wrap on her knee and said it was feeling much better.

“It was a little sore in practice, but it was OK today,” Williams said.

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic wobbled badly midway through his opening match, but regrouped to beat Martin Klizan 6-0, 5-7, 6-1.

Williams’ match was more straightforward, but not without tension. Although she also beat Niculescu two weeks ago, she struggled at the start with the Romanian’s unorthodox game, which includes a squash-style slice forehand that creates lots of spin.

When flummoxed, Williams did not try to hide her emotions.

“I’m clearly frustrated,” she told the crowd. “I just try not to explode, which is hard because I’m really passionate.”

The top seed began to dominate when she started moving toward the net and she won nine of the final 10 games. She next faces 15-year-old CiCi Bellis of the US in the third round.

Serena’s sister Venus also advanced, beating Stosur 6-4, 7-6 (7/3).

The older Williams’ opponent in the fourth round is fourth seed Caroline Wozniacki, who rallied to beat Kaia Kanepi 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

Top seed Djokovic was on the verge of an easy victory when he served at 5-3 in the second set, but he was broken and lost serve again two games later.

“I felt under pressure the last couple of games of the second set. I got a little bit tight, but in the third I managed to bounce back,” Djokovic said.

Djokovic had 19 break-point chances and converted only seven, but still improved to 20-2 this year.

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