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.”
Polish fourth seed Agnieszka Radwanska faces Spain’s 10th seed Carla Suarez in the other quarter-final tomorrow after both players came through testing three-setters.
Radwanska was pushed to the limit by unseeded Anna-Lena Friedsam, winning 6-7 (6/8), 6-1, 7-5, with the German, who struggled with injury and cramp, leaving the court in tears.
Suarez ended the dream run of local hope Daria Gavrilova 0-6, 6-3, 6-2 to make the last eight for the first time since her tournament debut in 2009.
In the men’s singles, Novak Djokovic called his win over Gilles Simon a “match to forget” after he clocked up an embarrassing 100 unforced errors before scraping into his 27th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final.
The 10-time major champion battled for 4 hours, 32 minutes before prevailing 6-3, 6-7 (1/7), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 and faces Kei Nishikori in the last eight after the Japanese ousted Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-4, 6-2, 6-4.
It was a gruelling win for Djokovic, whose tennis was uncharacteristically ragged before he finally subdued the dogged French 14th seed in the Rod Laver Arena thriller.
“Actually, it gives me great joy to know that I can’t get worse than that, than what I played today,” he said. “I was obviously pleased to win the match, but in terms of the performance itself, I haven’t done well at all.”
Djokovic blamed a “brain freeze” for continually trying to make drop shots, which either found the net or were run down by the athletic Simon.
“Sometimes you have a brain freeze, if I can call it that way. That’s what happened to me many times with those drop shots,” he said.
In other games, Tomas Berdych beat Roberto Bautista 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 1-6, 6-3, while Roger Federer defeated David Goffin 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017