Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Chan sisters make quarters

TOO COLD?Novak Djokovic said he had a ‘brain freeze’ playing Gilles Simon, trying too many drop-shots in a five-set slugfest he claimed 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter

Serena Williams returns to Margarita Gasparyan during their match at the Australian Open in Melbourne yesterday.

Photo: EPA

Taiwan’s Chan sisters advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Australian Open yesterday, before elder sister Yung-jan returned to Show Court 3 to book a spot in the second round of the mixed doubles.

Second seeds Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan took just 63 minutes to overcome British duo Jocelyn Rae and Anna Smith at Melbourne Park, completing a 6-3, 6-4 victory to survive into the second week of the first Grand Slam of the year.

The Taiwanese sisters saved two of four break points and converted all four they created, winning 62 of the 110 points contested to set up a quarter-final against seventh-seeded Czech duo Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka, who overcame 10th-seeded Spanish pairing Anabel Medina Garrigues and Arantxa Parra Santonja 6-2, 7-6 (9/7).

“Qualified for the Australian Open quarter-finals today with a 6-3, 6-4 victory over a British duo. Must thank the fans in Melbourne, you were really super enthusiastic. Awesome,” Hao-ching wrote on Facebook.

Yung-jan later returned to Show Court 3 alongside mixed doubles partner Rohan Bopanna and, after a slow start in which they fell 0-3 behind to Australian duo Kimberly Birrell and John Millman, they fought back to complete a 7-5, 6-1 victory in 58 minutes.

The third-seeded Taiwanese-Indian duo saved one of two break points and converted five of five, winning 56 of the 94 points contested to set up a second-round match today against Hlavackova and Lucasz Kubot of Poland, who cruised past Spanish pairing Lara Arruabarrena and David Marrero 6-0, 6-3.

“On to the quarter-finals of women’s doubles and the round-of-16 in mixed today. Nice to have Rohan Bopanna on the same side of the court again,” Yung-jan wrote on Facebook.

In the women’s singles, Serena Williams served up the prospect of a glamor Australian Open quarter-final against archrival Maria Sharapova as she looks to extend her iron grip over the Russian star.

The world No. 1 and defending champion smacked down Margarita Gasparyan 6-2, 6-1 in just 55 minutes on Rod Laver Arena to ensure the mouth-watering showdown.

Sharapova holds the dismal record of never beating her nemesis in 17 contests dating back 12 years. The last time she managed a win was at the WTA Tour Championships in 2004.

She now has another chance to finally get the monkey off her back after coming through a 7-5, 7-5 thriller against fast-rising Swiss teen Belinda Bencic.

The Russian world No. 5, who lost to Williams in the Melbourne Park final last year, said she was always looking to improve and used the losses against the mighty American to examine what she could do better.

“Absolutely. It’s not like I think about what I can do worse!” she said. “You’re always trying to ... improve.”

“I got myself into the quarter-final of a Grand Slam,” she said. “There is no reason I shouldn’t be looking to improve and to getting my game in a better position than any other previous round. It’s only going to be tougher, especially against Serena.”

A nonchalant Williams, who rarely looks beyond her next opponent in the draw, claimed that she did not know Sharapova was now in the way of her bid to win a 22nd Grand Slam and equal Steffi Graf’s Open-era record.

“I’ll be ready. She had a really good match — I had no idea I was playing her [Sharapova] next,” she told the courtside interviewer after taming Gasparyan. “That will be a good match, I have nothing to lose. We are both doing the best we can. It’ll be fun.”

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