Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei yesterday advanced to the third round of the women’s singles at the French Open, while Elina Svitolina, this year’s best singles player, survived a second-round scare.
World No. 109 Hsieh defeated Taylor Townsend of the US 6-0, 2-6, 6-3 in 1 hour, 36 minutes on Court 17 at Roland Garros.
The Taiwanese won seven of 14 break points and won 86 of the 158 points contested to advance to the third round at the second Grand Slam of the year in Paris, Hsieh’s adopted home.
The French Open is one of Hsieh’s favorite events. The former world doubles No. 1 won the doubles title at Roland Garros in 2014 and she also now lives in the city where she met her boyfriend last year.
Svitolina, lost her way in the first set against Bulgarian Tsvetana Pironkova before serving up a roller-coaster 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 win.
The Ukrainian, number six in the world, but leading the Race to Singapore rankings this year, struggled early on as her heavy ground strokes fell short or wide.
Pironkova took advantage, reeling off four games in a row to take the first set.
In a match littered with 54 unforced errors that the players shared almost equally, fifth seed Svitolina then started to find her range and struck back.
She took the second set when her 77th-ranked opponent drove a half-court backhand into the net and did enough to stay on top in the third.
Ninth seed Agnieszka Radwanska lived up to her nickname of the “Professor” when she dug deep into her toolbox of tactics to repel qualifier Alison van Uytvanck 6-7 (3/7), 6-2, 6-3.
The world No. 10 was taken by surprise in the first set when the aggressive Belgian, ranked 103 spots below her, went 3-1 up and squandered four break points to go 4-1 up.
Despite fighting back, Radwanska could not handle her opponent’s big-kicking serve and stream of drop shots as Van Uytvanck bagged the tiebreak with a smash.
Radwanska, whose best Grand Slam performance was reaching the 2012 Wimbledon final, changed tactics and decided to mix it up as well, rushing to the net more often and attacking the Belgian’s high-bouncing serve early to race through the second set 6-2.
The 23-year-old Van Uytvanck, who underwent wrist surgery in December last year and has made only one WTA main-draw appearance this year prior to Roland Garros, was broken in the third game and the Pole never looked back, winning the match when her opponent dumped a backhand into the net after 2 hours, 23 minutes.
In the first round of the women’s doubles, Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Misaki Doi retired after just eight minutes of their match against Chinese duo Liang Chen and Wang Qiang.
Doi also quit her Nuernberger Versicherungscup singles semi-final against Kiki Bertens with an abdominal injury on Friday last week.
On Wednesday, Hsieh and fellow Taiwanese Chan Hao-ching eased into the second round with convincing victories.
Hsieh and Jana Cepelova defeated Japanese duo Kurumi Nara and Risa Ozaki 6-2, 6-3 in 1 hour, 17 minutes.
The Taiwanese-Slovakian duo saved six of nine break points and converted seven of 10 to advance to a second-round clash with either Shelby Rogers and Heather Watson or 14th seeds Svetlana Kuznetsova and Kristina Mladenovic.
Chan and Barbora Krejcikova of the Czech Republic thrashed Annika Beck of Germany and Renaya Voracova of the Czech Republic 6-1, 6-1 in just 55 minutes.
The 12th seeds converted six of 10 break points to set up a second-round match with Liang and Wang.
In the first round of the men’s doubles on Wednesday, Taiwan’s Lu Yen-hsun and Dustin Brown of Germany were forced to quit their match against French duo Constant Lestienne and Corentin Moutet after 25 minutes.
Additional reporting by AP
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