Hsieh Su-wei yesterday put her fourth-round singles defeat by Angelique Kerber behind her to advance to the doubles semi-finals at the Australian Open, while it was the end of the road for fellow Taiwanese Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching in the women’s doubles and mixed doubles respectively.
Eighth seeds Hsieh and Peng Shuai cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over fourth-seeded Czech duo Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova in 1 hour, 13 minutes in their women’s doubles quarter-final on Show Court 2 at Melbourne Park.
The former Wimbledon and French Open champions saved four of five break points and converted four of nine, winning 65 of the 113 points contested.
The Taiwanese-Chinese duo hit 12 winners to set up a semi-final against fifth seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France, who survived a second-set meltdown to edge top seeds Latisha Chan and Andrea Sestini Hlavackova 6-4, 0-6, 7-6 (8/6) in 2 hours, 20 minutes on Show Court 3.
The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved nine of 12 break points and converted five of seven, winning 103 of the 203 points contested, but it was not enough as they crashed out of the quarter-finals of the first Grand Slam of the season.
In the second round of the mixed doubles, seventh seeds Chan Hao-ching and Michael Venus of New Zealand were routed 6-2, 6-1 by Maria Jose Martinez Sanchez and Marcelo Demoliner in just 45 minutes on Show Court 2.
The Spanish-Brazilian pairing did not face a single break point and converted five of seven to advance to a quarter-final against Australian duo Storm Sanders and Marc Polmans.
In the singles, Rafael Nadal’s drive toward a second Open title came to a shuddering injury-induced halt on a day of upsets that saw unseeded Kyle Edmund and Elise Mertens make the semi-finals.
The world No. 1 retired against Marin Cilic after an upper right leg problem began troubling him during the fourth set, with the Spaniard wincing in pain and limping as he struggled to continue.
His 3-6, 6-3, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2, 2-0 exit set up a last-four clash for the former US Open champion against Britain’s Edmund, who stunned third seed Grigor Dimitrov 6-4, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4.
Mertens, who has yet to drop a set, was equally convincing in blasting past world No. 4 Elina Svitolina 6-4, 6-0 to become the first Belgian to make the semis since Kim Clijsters in 2012.
She is to play second seeded Dane Caroline Wozniacki or veteran Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro for a place in Saturday’s final.
Little separated Nadal and big-hitting Cilic until the injury struck, as they traded ferocious groundstrokes in an intense battle.
However, the Spaniard called the physio at 1-4 in the fourth set and again at the changeover when two sets apiece and the writing was on the wall.
“It was an unbelievable performance from both us,” Cilic said. “It is really unfortunate for Rafa to finish this way.”
There were no such troubles for Edmund against Dimitrov.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’m very happy,” said the overwhelmed 23-year-old, ranked 49th. “It was a hard match and I’m really trying to enjoy the moment. It was my first match on Rod Laver Arena and it’s very special.”
World No. 37 Mertens is on a hot streak of form, unbeaten in 10 matches after winning in Hobart this month.
She was too physical for Svitolina as she stormed into the semis, incredibly on her Australian Open debut.
“It’s amazing. I mean, it was not expected, especially today. Really tough match, but I was in the zone today. If you believe in yourself, then anything can happen, but of course semis is ‘Wow,’” she said.
Romania’s Halep plays her quarter-final against sixth seed Karolina Pliskova today.
Wozniacki last made the semi-finals at Melbourne Park in 2011 and she faced a familiar foe yesterday in Suarez Navarro, whose two wins in seven career meetings with her were both on clay.
“Obviously hard courts are a little different, but we’ve had a lot of tough encounters on hard courts as well. Three-set grueling matches. I’m expecting a tough fight,” Wozniacki said.
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
Taiwan Steel on Sunday grabbed three points with a narrow 1-0 win against Hang Yuan FC, to move into the No. 2 spot on the Taiwan Football Premier League (TFPL) log, while Taipower FC beat NTUS 2-0 to maintain first place. Taking advantage early in the match of opposition defenders who had not yet settled down, Taiwan Steel’s attacking trio of Wu Chun-ching, Marc Fenelus from the Turks and Caicos Islands, and Benchy Astama from Haiti pushed forward with good passes. After only one minute of play, Fenelus dribbled from the right flank, feeding a short pass inside the penalty area to
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
STAYING COOL: Hamilton said that his ‘heart nearly stopped’ when he noticed the puncture, but he kept going to beat Alain Prost’s total of six home wins in France Lewis Hamilton said he feared he might not make it home when a last lap puncture almost derailed his charge to a record seventh British Grand Prix victory on Sunday. “I didn’t think I would make it round the last two corners,” the world champion said. The front left tire of his Mercedes had delaminated and deflated on his final lap, leaving the six-time world champion to nurse his vehicle to the finish as second-placed Max Verstappen hunted him down. “I just can’t believe it,” Hamilton said. “It was heart-stopping. I backed off and stayed chilled and was so glad it happened on