Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei celebrated New Year’s Day by taking just 68 minutes to advance to the second round of the ASB Classic in Auckland, New Zealand, while there were also victories for Petra Martic, Kirsten Flipkens and Julia Goerges.
World No. 83 Hsieh, making her first appearance in Auckland since she competed in qualifying 11 years ago, cruised to a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Japanese world No. 97 Nao Hibino in just 68 minutes.
Hsieh saved six of seven break points and converted five of 10 to avenge a 6-1, 1-6, 7-5 defeat in their only previous meeting in Tokyo in 2015.
Hsieh next faces either sixth seed Yulia Putintseva of Kazakhstan or Belgian qualifier Ysaline Bonaventure in the second round.
In yesterday’s other matches, Croatian Martic defeated Marketa Vondrousova of the Czech Republic 7-6 (7/2), 6-3; Belgian Flipkens ousted Croatian eighth seed Donna Vekic 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 6-4; and German second seed Goerges outlasted Puerto Rican Monica Puig 6-4, 4-6, 6-2.
Taiwan’s Chan sisters are due to begin the new season today in the first round of the doubles at the Brisbane International in Australia.
Following the retirement of Martina Hingis, doubles world No. 1 Latisha Chan, who previously played on the WTA Tour under her Chinese name, Chan Yung-jan, is teaming up with Czech Andrea Sestini Hlavackova, who has also changed her name following her marriage in July last year.
The top seeds are due to take on Michaella Krajicek of the Netherlands and Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia.
Younger sister Chan Hao-ching and Katarina Srebotnik take on Nadiia Kichenok of Ukraine and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia, with the Chan sisters headed for a possible early season showdown in the quarter-finals.
In the first round of singles yesterday, Johanna Konta opened her season with a tough 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 win over US Open finalist Madison Keys.
Fifth seed Konta entered the Australian Open tuneup after losing her final four matches last year, including a first-round exit at the US Open.
After dropping the first set, Konta hit form quickly and had decisive service breaks early in the second and third sets, before clinching it on her second match point, breaking Keys’ serve to finish off in just over two hours.
“To get the chance to play such a high-quality match so early on is only a good thing to me, and to be able to come through in a three-set match as well and to get that much court time, it’s a good thing,” the Briton said.
Keys, playing just her second match since her career-best run at the US Open last year, had 11 aces and hit 37 winners, but made 38 unforced errors.
“It was good tennis today — I haven’t played a match in four months, so it’s like a win for me,” Keys said. “I played really well. She played better. I’m not that upset about it.”
In other matches, third seed Elina Svitolina opened with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Carla Suarez Navarro; 2012 champion Kaia Kanepi beat Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-2; qualifier Aliaksandra Sasnovich ousted sixth seed Kristina Mladenovic 1-6, 6-3, 7-5; and Heather Watson lost 6-0, 6-3 to Anett Kontaveit.
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