Two-time Wimbledon champion Petra Kvitova, seeded 10th at the French Open, yesterday beat Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei 6-4, 6-1 to advance to the third round at Roland Garros in a much more comfortable outing than her opener against Danka Kovinic, where she had been just two points away from defeat at one stage.
Kvitova, a semi-finalist in 2012, next faces Shelby Rogers of the US.
“I am feeling good, I am healthy and that is important,” Kvitova said.
Novak Djokovic began his pursuit of the only Grand Slam title missing from his collection with a no-nonsense 6-4, 6-1, 6-1 win over Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun in the first round on Tuesday.
The Serbian top seed now stands only six matches away from becoming the first man in almost 50 years to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time.
Looking to achieve a feat that was last achieved by Rod Laver in 1969, the 11-times major champion appeared to be a in a hurry to escape the cold and dank confines of Philippe Chatrier Court.
In fact, facing an opponent who had not played a top-tier match since October last year, Djokovic’s only blip was when he dropped serve in the eighth game of the opening set.
However, having leveled for 4-4, the wheels came off for Lu and the 32-year-old only won two more games before Djokovic safely secured a second-round clash with Belgian Steve Darcis.
Yesterday, Japan’s fifth seed Kei Nishikori and former runner-up Simona Halep were both early second-round winners.
Nishikori, a quarter-finalist last year, coasted into the last 32 with a 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory over Russia’s Andrey Kuznetsov.
Nishikori, the 2014 US Open runner-up, goes on to face former world No. 7 Fernando Verdasco of Spain.
Verdasco, 32, is playing his 13th Roland Garros and is to present Nishikori with a formidable challenge, holding a 2-1 lead in their head-to-head record.
He won their only meeting on clay in Barcelona in 2012, although that came through an injury retirement.
Sixth seed Halep, the losing finalist to Maria Sharapova in 2014, endured a roller-coaster tie on Court Philippe Chatrier against Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan before securing a 7-6 (7/5), 6-2 win.
Halep, 24, was 1-4 down in the first set to the world No. 90 before rallying and grabbing the tiebreak.
The opening set featured six breaks of serve before the Romanian coasted through the second.
Halep is next to face Japan’s Naomi Osaka, the world No. 101, who has reached the third round at a major for the second successive time having also enjoyed a run to the last 32 in Australia.
Osaka, 18, knocked out 34-year-old Mirjana Lucic-Baroni 6-3, 6-3, which would have been relief to Halep, who lost to the world No. 52 Croatian at the French Open last year and US Open in 2014.
“It was very tough in the first set, having to come back from 1-4 down, but I found a better rhythm in the second set, tried to open the court and hit drive volleys,” Halep said.
Osaka, making her Roland Garros debut, had not won on clay all season before this week.
“I am adjusting to clay, but I would rather do better here than at smaller tournaments,” she said.
Russian 13th seed Svetlana Kuznetsova, the 2009 champion, was too strong for Britain’s Heather Watson winning 6-1, 6-3.
Kuznetsova next faces Fed Cup teammate Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, who saw off Cagla Buyukakcay, the first Turkish woman to win a match at a Grand Slam, 6-3, 4-6, 6-1.
Taiwanese badminton star Tai Tzu-ying (戴資穎) yesterday beat Thailand’s Ratchanok Intanon in their women’s singles semi-final match to advance to today’s final at the Thailand Open. The top-seeded Tai overcame a 10-21 first-game loss to seventh seed and former world champion Ratchanok to dominate the final two games 21-13, 21-19 in 58 minutes of play at the Impact Arena in Bangkok. World No. 2 Tai is today to face world No. 4 Chen Yufei of China. Chen yesterday bested Pusarla Venkata Sindhu 21-17, 21-16 to secure her spot in the final of the Super 500 tournament. On Friday, Tai overpowered China’s He Bingjiao 21-10,
Wimbledon, widely regarded as the world’s most prestigious tennis tournament, was on Friday stripped of ranking points by the sport’s main tours in a move that threatens to reduce the Grand Slam to the status of a high-profile exhibition event. The decision by the ATP and WTA was in response to Wimbledon banning Russian and Belarusian players following the invasion of Ukraine. “It is with great regret and reluctance that we see no option but to remove ATP Ranking points from Wimbledon for 2022,” an ATP statement said. “Our rules and agreements exist in order to protect the rights of players as a
Defending champions Taichung Blue Whale thrashed Taoyuan Mars 6-0 in Taiwanese women’s soccer over the weekend, while Hualien City rolled on with their fourth win to sit atop the league table. While Thai fullback Pitsamai Sornsai partnered with compatriot goalkeeper Nattaruja Muthtanawech on defense, Japanese midfielder Maho Tanaka opened the scoring for Blue Whale in Saturday’s match, kicking a screamer on a volley from outside the penalty box — her first goal of the season. The match remained 1-0 heading into the break, although Taoyuan Mars striker Ho Chia-huan, a student at Hsing Wu High School in New Taipei City, had good
Faced with a machete, a fighter leaps and locks his legs around another man’s neck, bringing him crashing down to a cacophony of cheers. This is vovinam, Vietnam’s acrobatic martial art with roots dating back to the country’s struggle for independence, and it is showing at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games for the first time since 2013. Proponents are trained to use not only their hands and legs to grapple a rival to the ground, but also fend off assailants armed with blades. Short for “Vo Viet Nam” (literally “Vietnamese martial arts”) it was inspired by nationalists who sought an end to the