Thu, Feb 14, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Chan sisters, Hsieh advance in Qatar

‘VERY TOUGH’:Latisha Chan described the conditions in Doha as ‘cold and windy,’ while Romania’s Jelena Ostapenko said she hoped that the weather would improve

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters

The Chan sisters on Tuesday advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles at the Qatar Open, while fellow Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei cruised into the second round of the singles at the Khalifa International Tennis and Squash Complex.

Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan outlasted Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Lidziya Marozava of Belarus 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 in 1 hour, 45 minutes in a tough first-round encounter in Doha.

The Taiwanese saved nine of 13 break points and converted five of 10, winning 82 of the 155 points contested in what Latisha Chan described as “cold and windy conditions” in the Middle East.

Third seeds Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan of China where yesterday due to take on Lara Arruabarrena of Spain and Kaitlyn Christian of the US, with the winners to face the Taiwanese sisters in the quarter-finals.

In the first round of the singles, world No. 31 Hsieh cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory over Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus in just 59 minutes.

The Taiwanese No. 1 saved all three break points she faced and converted five of 10, winning 74 percent of points on her first serve to improve her career record against the world No. 33 to 2-0 following another straight-sets victory in Tokyo in 2017.

Hsieh was yesterday due to take on 132nd-ranked Czech Karolina Muchova in the second round.

Former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko overcame a determined Mihaela Buzarnescu to advance to the second round with a 6-1, 4-6, 6-2 victory.

Both Ostapenko and Buzarnescu are aggressive players and finished with more unforced errors than winners, but the Latvian was more consistent on the day as she avenged a second-round loss to Buzarnescu in Doha 12 months ago.

Romanian Buzarnescu, who is still seeking her first win of the season, was undone by 13 double faults and allowed 2016 Doha runner-up Ostapenko to have 20 break points, of which the Latvian converted seven.

After dropping the second set, Ostapenko regained the momentum by saving four break points in the opening game of the decider.

Buzarnescu conceded a 3-1 lead when she committed her 12th double fault of the day on break point, before Ostapenko unleashed a string of forehand winners to seal the victory in 1 hour, 45 minutes.

Ostapenko, who won the French Open in 2017, was next due to face world No. 7 Elina Svitolina.

“I hope the wind is not going to be the same tomorrow as it was today, because it was very tough to play,” Ostapenko said. “Otherwise, I mean, [Svitolina is] a very consistent player. I will have to play on a very high level to beat her, of course.”

Fifth seed Kiki Bertens recovered from a nightmare opening set to beat Italian Camila Giorgi 0-6, 7-6 (7/2), 6-4.

Giorgi produced an impressive display of power-hitting and finished with 35 winners, but fell short as her Dutch opponent won the critical points in the final two sets.

Bertens won 80 percent of her first serves in the final set to clinch victory and set up a second-round clash with 2016 Doha champion Carla Suarez Navarro.

Latvian seventh seed Anastasija Sevastova suffered a shock opening-round exit as she was beaten 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 by Russian qualifier Anna Blinkova.

It was a career-best performance for 20-year-old Blinkova, whose previous two top-30 wins also came in Doha last year.

Earlier in the day, former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki withdrew from the tournament due to a viral illness.

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