Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei yesterday credited her “relaxed” approach after the world No. 109 stunned Britain’s Johanna Konta in the first round of the French Open.
Doubles specialist Hsieh, 31, recovered from a dreadful start to knock off seventh seed Konta 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4 on Court Philippe Chatrier.
“I tried very hard and gave myself a big chance. Every time I tried to run as fast as I can and get the ball back,” said Hsieh, who won for the just the second time in seven trips to Roland Garros. “I like to do some different stuff. I think it’s quite fun to play the match like that, I don’t know if that’s really nice or but I like to go out on court and enjoy the match.”
Hsieh had won just twice at tour level this year and appeared to be heading for a swift exit as Konta raced through the opening set.
“I was like, ‘Oh my god,’ I was missing a lot of balls,” Hsieh said of her slow start. “Second set we start again, I don’t think about the first set, so it was a new set for me and it was pretty good.”
Hsieh won the 2014 French Open doubles title with China’s Peng Shuai, as well Wimbledon in 2013, but it was the first time she had played on the main Roland Garros show court in singles.
“I was making jokes: ‘Oh coach, I am so nervous I cannot play.’ When you make it fun you feel more relaxed on the court,” Hsieh, who lives in Paris with her French boyfriend, said of her calm demeanor. “It was an amazing result.”
“It was not easy, as she is a great player. I had to fight for every point otherwise she would hit a winner or open the court,” Hsieh said. “She’s a big player. I feel I’m pretty small. The women hit the ball really big right now, it’s not really easy for the Asian players, because we’re not like the other girls hitting the big shots.”
“I was trying to keep myself ready on the court and trying to play my game,” she added.
Hsieh’s win over Konta was her first over a top-10 player and she goes on to face Taylor Townsend of the US for a spot in the last 32.
Konta, who fired 37 winners, but also 38 unforced errors, has yet to win a match in Paris in three main draw appearances.
In men’s singles, Australian Nick Kyrgios shrugged off injury concerns and kept his emotions in check to outclass Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 7-6, 6-3, booking his spot in the second round.
The 18th seed, notorious for his on-court tantrums, showed no signs of being hampered by a hip injury that forced him out of the Rome Masters earlier this month.
Kyrgios, who faces either South Africa’s Kevin Anderson or Tunisian Malek Jaziri in the next round, has also been receiving treatment for a shoulder injury.
However, the 22-year-old, considered among the most gifted players of his generation, fired a total of 20 aces, including six in the first set, which he claimed in 30 minutes.
“There were a lot of questions about how I would perform today,” Kyrgios told reporters. “I did not play many matches on clay and was not feeling that confident.”
“I don’t really like running. I don’t like that my shoes get dirty. I don’t train too much on clay as it makes my car dirty,” he said.
“It can be enjoyable. I play well on clay, but it’s not my favorite surface,” he added.
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