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.
“But I broke the following game. Kei played a poor game to break. I didn’t do anything special, but that was a critical period of the match, because he started way better than me,” Murray said. “From then on I started to do a bit better.”
Murray quickly level the match, but after twice breaking in the third set, at 2-2 and 5-5, he handed the advantage straight back and needed a tiebreak to forge ahead.
The body language of Nishikori, who has never reached the last four at Roland Garros, hardly looked promising after that and Murray marched on to his 21st Grand Slam semi-final.
The NBA said was re-evaluating its training program in China following allegations of abuse of young players by local staff and harassment of foreign staffers at a facility in Xinjiang. The comments come after a report by ESPN that quoted unnamed American coaches as saying that Chinese coaches hit young players. One American coach who worked at a camp in Xinjiang complained of harassment by local police, the sports network said. “The allegations in the ESPN article are disturbing,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum said in an e-mail statement on Thursday. “We ended our involvement with the basketball academy in Xinjiang in June
Coming from the business world, New York Liberty owner Joe Tsai (蔡崇信) did not understand why his WNBA franchise did not have a chief executive officer similar to the team’s NBA counterpart the Brooklyn Nets, which Tsai also owns. For Tsai, it was about equality, so he did something about it. The 56-year-old Taipei-born billionaire businessman and philanthropist promoted Keia Clarke to the position last week — making her the first chief executive officer in the team’s history. The WNBA veteran became the third black woman to currently be in charge of a franchise in the league, joining Los Angeles Sparks president
LEAVING IT LATE: Rakuten added late runs last night to add to wins on Wednesday against the Brothers and the Lions on Friday that went down to the last batter The Rakuten Monkeys rallied to post three late runs for another close win, prevailing 5-3 over the Uni-President Lions yesterday as Taiwan’s second-half CPBL season got started with lower scoring output, but exciting finishes. It was Rakuten’s third win in a row. In two games this week, they seized victory in dramatic fashion with their last at-bat and have drawn level with the CTBC Brothers on top of the table after yesterday’s results, 0.5 games in front of the Fubon Guardians and 1.5 games ahead of the Lions. It was tied at 1-1 early, with Rakuten hosting the Lions at the Taoyuan Intenational
MONEY MATTERS: While COVID-19 played a major role in the decision, the CTBA also found it hard to secure sponsorship, and ticket sales would have been affected The Yonex Taipei Open badminton tournament has been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic and a funding shortfall, the CTBA said yesterday. This was the first time that the tournament, a Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour Super 300-level competition, has been canceled since it began in 1980. The Taipei Open has been held annually since 1980. The tournament was to be played at the Taipei Arena from Sept. 1 to Sept. 6, with total prize money of US$500,000. The CTBA said that it was deeply concerned about whether the Taipei Open would proceed as scheduled after the BWF announced changes