Thu, Jan 11, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Chan, Hlavackova survive meltdown

A FINAL BLOW:Top seed Garbine Muguruza yesterday alleviated fears of another injury setback, twice breaking Kiki Bertens, who lost the tiebreaker with a long serve

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, SYDNEY

Taiwan’s Latisha Chan, left, and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova of the Czech Republic pose for photographs after winning their Sydney International doubles quarter-final in Australia yesterday.

Photo: screen grab from Facebook

Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Czech partner Andrea Sestini Hlavackova yesterday survived a second-set meltdown to advance to the semi-finals of the doubles at the Sydney International, the final warm-up tournament before next week’s Australian Open.

The top seeds took one hour, 37 minutes to see off Andreja Klepac of Slovenia and Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez 7-6 (7/3), 1-6, 10-6, saving five of 11 break points and converting four of nine.

Chan, who previously played on the WTA Tour using her Chinese name, Chan Yung-jan, and Sestini Hlavackova advanced to the semi-finals despite winning only 67 of the 140 points contested and they next face Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Lauren Davis of the US, who stunned fourth seeds Kiki Bertens of the Netherlands and Johanna Larsson of Sweden 7-6 (7/4), 2-6, 10-7.

In the other semi-final, second seeds Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova are due to take on third seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yifan after the Czech duo edged Kateryna Bondarenko of Ukraine and Casey Dellacqua of Australia 6-4, 3-6, 10-7, while the Canadian-Chinese pairing defeated Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Yang Zhaoxuan of China 6-4, 7-5.

In the singles, top seed Garbine Muguruza yesterday overcame an injury scare to battle past Kiki Bertens 6-3, 7-6 (6) and advance to the quarter-finals.

The Wimbledon champion accepted a wildcard into the tournament after retiring with leg cramps during her opening match at the Brisbane International last week and called for a medical time-out after the third game against Bertens.

However, the Spanish world No. 3 returned to the Ken Rosewall Arena in full flow, breaking her Dutch opponent twice to surge 5-1 clear, while allaying fears of another injury setback ahead of next week’s Australian Open.

Bertens, who had won all three previous meetings against Muguruza in straight sets, recovered one of the breaks to halt her opponent’s march, but the two-time grand slam winner regrouped to close out the opening set.

Muguruza broke at the start of the second set against the 26-year-old world No. 32, but struggled to impose herself during the key moments, only converting three of 13 break-point opportunities and dropping her serve in the eighth game.

The Spaniard sealed victory on her fourth match point in the tiebreak when Mertens hit a return long.

AUCKLAND CLASSIC

Reuters

Argentine Juan Martin del Potro yesterday made a confident start to his preparations for the Australian Open with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Denis Shapovalov at the Auckland Classic.

Former US Open champion Del Potro hit eight aces to breeze past the 18-year-old Canadian, who hit 20 winners, but committed 40 unforced errors.

The 29-year-old second seed, who won the tournament in 2009 in his last appearance, is now the favorite after top-seeded US Jack Sock was bundled out by unheralded German Peter Gojowczyk.

Del Potro is to next face Russian Karen Khachanov, who beat sixth-seeded Uruguayan Pablo Cuevas 6-2, 7-(4), in the last eight.

HOBART INTERNATIONAL

Reuters

Belarusian teen Aryna Sabalenka yesterday blasted top seed Zhang Shuai out of the Hobart International, while former champion Heather Watson had a smooth ride to the quarter-finals with a 6-2, 6-2 win over wildcard Jaimee Fourlis.

Big-hitting Sabalenka had felled former world No. 5 Eugenie Bouchard in the first round and the Belarusian’s aggressive strategy paid dividends again as she triumphed 7-6 (3) 6-4.

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