Sat, Mar 24, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan’s Hsieh ousts 32nd seed Cirstea

TOUGH ASSIGNMENT:World No. 61 Hsieh Su-wei next faces Czech world No. 6 Karolina Pliskova, who said she would be wary of the Taiwanese No. 1’s ‘strange game’

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters

Romania’s Simona Halep returns to Oceane Dodin of France in their Miami Open second-round women’s singles match in Key Biscayne, Florida, on Thursday.

Photo: AFP

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Thursday upset the 32nd seed in the second round of the women’s singles at the Miami Open, while world No. 1 Simona Halep survived a scare from Oceane Dodin.

World No. 61 Hsieh defeated Sorana Cirstea 7-5, 6-2 in 1 hour, 22 minutes in Florida to improve her career record against the Romanian to 2-0 after winning their only previous meeting on the grass courts in Eastbourne, England, last year.

The Taiwanese saved three of six break points and converted six of 11, winning 73 of the 131 points contested to set up a third-round clash with fifth seed Karolina Pliskova, who defeated Ekaterina Makarova 7-5, 7-5, her first victory in four meetings with the Russian.

“I’ve never played Hsieh, but she has a very strange game; I’ve watched her a few times on TV, and with her drop shots and slices, it’s clear she’s trying to mix things up a lot,” Pliskova told the WTA Web site of her next opponent.

Halep ralied form a set down to defeat lucky loser Dodin 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 and while the Romanian was unhappy with her performance, she said it had been a “good day at the office.”

Halep, who almost joined eight other seeds eliminated on a day of upsets in south Florida including No. 7 Carolina Garcia of France and No. 12 Julia Goerges of Germany, was delighted with the way she dug in and fought in the deciding third set on Center Court.

“Maybe previous years I couldn’t win the matches in the third set, so I’m really happy that I changed this to myself and I feel stronger,” Halep told reporters. “So when I go to the third set, I don’t panic. I’m relaxed and I’m just fighting till the end, and I’m sure that I have a big chance to win the match, so I just go for it.”

An upset looked possible in the first set when Dodin’s big first serve troubled Halep, who was crushed by eventual champion Naomi Osaka in the Indian Wells semi-finals last week, but the defensive-minded Halep, who at times reached down to rub a troublesome right ankle, improved as the match wore on, getting the better of the Frenchwoman in extended rallies and in the key moments.

The match was in the balance until Halep had break points at 5-5 in the third set and jumped all over a weak second serve from the 21-year-old to move ahead.

Halep won the next game to love, rocketing down an ace on match point to set up a meeting with Polish 30th seed Agnieszka Radwanska, who defeated Belgian Alison van Uytvanck 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).

“I felt just that I played bad, but it’s a good day at the office and I’ll take it,” Halep said. “You have these days and when you [do], don’t give up, it’s the most important thing. I think that’s why I won today, because I didn’t give up.”

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