Wed, Sep 23, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Chans survive meltdown, win in Tokyo

LATE SLIP:The Chan sisters cruised to a 6-1, 4-0 lead, then lost six straight matches to face a super tiebreak. However, the Taiwanese then won 10-7 in the decider

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, TOKYO

Angelique Kerber of Germany returns to Daria Gavrilova of Russia during their Pan Pacific Open singles match in Tokyo yesterday.

Photo: Reuters

The Chan sisters kept their bid for back-to-back doubles titles on track in the Japanese capital yesterday, despite having to survive a second-set meltdown at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.

Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan cruised to a 6-1, 4-0 lead in their first-round match against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and CoCo Vandeweghe, but then lost six straight matches as their German-American opponents forced a super tiebreak.

However, the Taiwanese second seeds battled to a 10-7 victory in the decider at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, where they won the Japan Open doubles final on Saturday, their third WTA Tour title of the season.

The Taiwanese duo saved two of five break points and converted five of 11, winning 67 of the 117 points contested to wrap up the victory in 1 hour, 15 minutes.

Chan Hao-ching, who moved up three places to 21st in the WTA Tour doubles rankings this week, and Chan Yung-jan, who climbed one place to 10th, face either Daria Gavrilova of Russia and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Xu Yifan of China in the quarter-finals.

In the singles, Carla Suarez Navarro ended her eight-match dry spell with a hard-earned 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 victory on Tuesday against Kateryna Bondarenko.

It was the first victory for the 10th-ranked Spaniard since June and she suffered a first-round, straight-sets defeat against the 83rd-ranked Bondarenko a week ago at the Japan Open.

Suarez Navarro said that defeat gave her the insights to gain victory yesterday against the Ukrainian.

“It’s true that I lost [a week ago], but I had much in my mind how to play against her,” Suarez Navarro said. “Today, I just tried to play and be relaxed. I tried to play my game.”

Suarez Navarro said she had “lost confidence” as she kept losing match after match, with the negative feeling leading to psychological fatigue and more losses.

Now she hopes to regain her form as the current season draws toward its close, with only a handful of Asian tournaments to go.

“I feel happy because I can change the situation. With the next match, I have one more opportunity to try to play my game, and try to play like the beginning of the season,” the Spaniard said.

In other matches, German fifth-seed Angelique Kerber crushed Daria Gavrilova of Russia 6-2, 6-2.

It was Kerber’s first appearance since her nail-biting US Open third-round showdown against Victoria Azarenka, when she lost, but won much praise for her performance.

“I just try to take the confidence from the US Open to the next tournament here, for the Asia trip and for the next year,” she said.

The US Open match, Kerber said, showed that she can play “two or three hours on the high level.”

A Grand Slam victory appeared “so far away,” but “I will try to keep working for that. You never what happens,” she said.

In other action, eighth-seed Belinda Bencic beat China’s Xi Yi-Fan 6-0, 6-0, while Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Alison Riske of the US 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.

KOREA OPEN

Romanian top seed Irina-Camelia Begu scored a comfortable victory over Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova in the first round of the WTA Korea Open yesterday.

Begu, ranked 29th in the world, beat Kozlova in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with Polona Hercog of Slovenia.

US third seed Sloane Stephens, ranked 32nd in the world, had little trouble against South Korean wildcard Han Na-lae 6-1, 6-1.

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