Wed, Jul 04, 2018 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei advances at Wimbledon

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, LONDON

Serena Williams of the US returns to Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands in their Wimbledon women’s singles first-round match in London on Monday.

Photo: AP

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei yesterday got her Wimbledon campaign off to a winning start by ousting the 30th seed in the first round of the women’s singles a day after Serena Williams said she was still adjusting to the unique challenge of chasing an eighth title while making time for her baby daughter.

World No. 48 Hsieh defeated Russian world No. 29 Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 in 2 hours, 6 minutes at the All England Club in London.

The 32-year-old Taiwanese saved nine of 13 break points and converted five of 17, winning 107 of the 207 points contested to advance to a second-round clash with Spanish world No. 88 Lara Arruabarrena, who defeated Ana Bogdan of Romania 6-1, 3-6, 8-6.

Williams was on Monday back at Wimbledon for the first time since giving birth to Alexis Olympia in September last year and the former world No. 1 was having to get used to the increased demands on her time.

Few female players have succeeded at Grand Slam level after becoming mothers — only Kim Clijsters did it recently at the US Open in 2009, while Margaret Court and Evonne Goolagong Cawley also won majors after giving birth.

The joys of being a mum have not dulled Serena’s fierce competitive instincts and, aiming to add to her haul of 23 major titles, she started her latest Wimbledon campaign with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands, but the 36-year-old conceded it is not easy to come to terms with spending time away from her daughter to focus on tennis.

“It’s hard. I realized at Roland Garros, if the days were long, I was playing singles and doubles there, that was hard because I felt guilty,” she said. “I was like, I haven’t seen Olympia, like what am I doing. If it’s the shorter days, now that I’m not playing doubles in this event, I have the day off, I think that will help. She definitely notices when I’m away. I’m there every day of her life. So she does get super excited when I come back in. You guys are making me miss her... I also think it’s healthy in a way for me to do what I need to do, be that working mom, then go back home and be the mom.”

Having endured complications from her daughter’s birth, Williams was playing only her second Grand Slam this year.

She won her first three matches at the French Open before pulling out due to a pectoral injury.

Since a 2014 third-round loss to Alize Cornet, Williams has now won 15 successive matches at Wimbledon — she took the title in 2015 and 2016 before missing last year’s tournament due to her pregnancy.

Twenty years after making her Wimbledon debut, there were a few signs of rust against Rus and Serena was pleased to get her first Wimbledon match as a mother out of the way.

“I didn’t think about that actually, but it felt good to play, just to be back on the grass. Two years, over a year. It definitely felt good,” she said.

Williams is the second-oldest player in the women’s draw, but even motherhood cannot persuade her to consider retiring when she sees Swiss star Roger Federer thriving at the same age.

“I’m just playing until Roger stops. Gosh, how long? Did he put a time limit on it?” she said. “We in it. We in it together. As long as he’s here, I’m going to try to be here.”

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