Fri, Jun 26, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Chan and Zheng edge tight battle, advance to semis

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, EASTBOURNE, England

Denmark’s Caroline Wozniacki returns to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia in their Aegon International third-round singles match in Eastbourne, England, on Wednesday.

Photo: Reuters

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie of China edged a tight doubles quarter-final at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, yesterday.

The cross-strait duo got off to the better start against Julia Goerges of Germany and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic on the grass courts at Devonshire Park, converting one of five break points and converting their first set point to take the first set 6-3.

After not creating a break point in the first set, the German-Czech duo rallied in the second, converting one of three to level the match 6-3, 3-6.

Chan and Zheng then had to dig deep in the super tiebreak, eventually closing out a 6-3, 3-6, 11-9 victory in 1 hour, 14 minutes, after winning 62 of the 119 points contested.

In today’s doubles semi-finals, the Taiwanese-Chinese pairing face either second-seeded Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina or Cara Black of Zimbabwe and Lisa Raymond of the US, who were due to play their quarter-final late yesterday.

On Wednesday, Chan’s younger sister, Chan Hao-ching, and Flavia Pennetta crashed out in their quarter-final against top seeds Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza.

The Taiwanese-Italian duo got off to a flying start, taking the first set 6-4 and leading 4-1 in the second, but the Swiss-Indian pairing, the world No. 2 and No. 1 respectively, rallied to win the second set 6-3, before wrapping up the victory 10-6 in the super tiebreak to advance to the semi-finals in 1 hour, 13 minutes.

The top seeds saved seven of 12 break points and converted five of six to set up a semi-final against fourth seeds Caroline Garcia of France and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who won the first set of their quarter-final 6-1 before British opponents Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith retired.

In the singles on Wednesday, Caroline Wozniacki reached the quarter-finals with a 6-7 (3/7), 6-3, 6-1 win over fellow former champion Svetlana Kuznetsova, but last year’s Wimbledon runner-up Eugenie Bouchard was facing a fitness battle ahead of the third Grand Slam of the season after suffering a tournament-ending abdominal strain.

The former titleholders at Devonshire Park (Wozniacki in 2009 and Kuznetsova in 2004) were meeting for the 10th time, with second seed Wozniacki now leading the series 6-4, but the Dane lost her way in the opening set, letting a 5-2 lead slip.

Kuznetsova, a two-time Grand Slam winner, seized the initiative, running off five of six games to force a tiebreak after annulling a Wozniacki set point in the 12th game.

The Russian then prevailed for the early lead after seizing six set points and converting with an ace on her fourth.

“Obviously, you’re not too happy with yourself after that, but you just have to get yourself together and get back on the horse, as they say, and try to win the second set,” Wozniacki said. “On grass, losing a set being up 5-1 is not ideal. She started playing better, she started returning deeper and she upped her game. I had a set point I didn’t take. Then all of a sudden I see myself being down in the tiebreaker. I don’t know what happened.”

Wozniacki mounted a fightback in the second set and played carefully so as not blow a 5-1 lead in the final set.

“I wanted to make sure that didn’t happen again,” the former world No. 1 said, recalling her first-set wobble. “The only thing that really matters is to get the win.”

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