Fri, Jun 09, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Chan, Hingis advance to French semis

TIMING:After receiving a time violation warning from the umpire, world No. 1 Andy Murray rallied from a set down to beat Kei Nishikori in their men’s quarter-final

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, PARIS

Britain’s Andy Murray returns to Japan’s Kei Nishikori in their French Open men’s singles quarter-final in Paris on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

After three quarter-final losses at Roland Garros, Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan on Wednesday finally made it into the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the French Open.

Third seeds Chan and Martina Hingis took just 66 minutes to defeat Raluca Olaru of Romania and Olga Savchuk of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1 on the red clay in Paris.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo saved two of three break points and converted five of nine to complete their 12th straight victory following their title-winning exploits in Madrid and Rome last month.

The third seeds, who are unbeaten on clay this season, next face a tough test against top seeds Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US and Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic, who ousted unseeded Francesca Schiavone of Italy and Kirsten Flipkens of Belgium 6-2, 6-4 in their quarter-final.

Mattek-Sands and Safarova are looking for their third straight Grand Slam title after winning the US Open last year and the Australian Open in January.

The other semi-final features sixth-seeded Czech duo Lucie Hradecka and Katerina Siniakova, who ousted second-seeded Russian pairing Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova 6-1, 6-4.

The sixth seeds are to face unseeded Australians Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua, who completed a 6-3, 6-4 victory over Irina-Camelia Begu of Romaina and Zheng Saisai of China in 1 hour, 33 minutes.

In men’s singles, world No. 1 Andy Murray shrugged off a sluggish start to reach his fifth French Open semi-final with a 2-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7/0), 6-1 defeat of Japan’s Kei Nishikori.

Britain’s Murray dropped serve twice in the opening set as the gremlins that have dogged his season briefly returned, but he was generally in charge after that against the eighth seed.

Nishikori, who beat Murray in the quarter-finals of last year’s US Open, could not sustain his early form and although he courageously forced a third-set tiebreak, he lost that 7-0.

Murray, runner-up last year to Novak Djokovic, recovered an early break of serve in the fourth set and reeled off the last six games to set up a repeat of last year’s semi-final, when he produced a dazzling display to beat Stan Wawrinka.

Murray, 30, arrived at Roland Garros with genuine concerns over his form after a mediocre clay-court swing, but with coach Ivan Lendl watching over his shoulder he has rediscovered the winning mentality just in time.

However, he might need another level against Swiss former champion Wawrinka, who annihilated Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.

“I came in playing garbage,” Murray said. “You know, I’m the odd one out in the semis, but hopefully I can keep it up.”

“I didn’t feel like I played great tennis today, but it’s a huge step in the right direction for me. Anyone can win matches when they are playing well. It’s winning when you’re not playing your best that is more impressive,” he added.

In wind Murray double-faulted to lose serve in the third game and Nishikori pinged a forehand winner past him to move 5-2 ahead before serving out the set.

Serving at 1-1, deuce in the second set, Murray was bizarrely given a time violation warning by umpire Carlos Ramos after he had let an errant ball toss land — prompting an exchange of views between the pair.

Coincidence or not, after that incident Murray was far more aggressive and began to take over.

“I was frustrated about it, but I don’t know how much impact that had on the match,” Murray said. “It’s not like I played a great point the next point.

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