Hsieh Su-wei yesterday cruised into the third round of the singles at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships, while fellow Taiwanese Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan on Monday advanced to the second round of the doubles in the United Arab Emirates.
Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh took just 68 minutes to complete a 6-1, 6-2 victory over world No. 33 Aliaksandra Sasnovich.
The world No. 31 saved all four break points she faced and converted four of 11, taking advantage of the Belarussian’s five double faults and winning 64 percent of points on her second serve to advance to the third round.
The victory improved Hsieh’s career record over Sasnovich to 3-0, including a 6-2, 6-0 victory at the Qatar Open last week.
In the doubles on Monday, newly crowned Qatar Open doubles champions the Chan sisters took 55 minutes to complete a 6-2, 6-2 victory over Prarthana Thombare of India and Eva Wacanno of the Netherlands.
The Taiwanese ninth seeds did not face a single break point and converted four of five, winning 77 percent of points on their second serve to set up a second-round clash against Viktoria Kuzmova of Slovakia and Ajla Tomljanovic of Australia, who defeated Shuko Aoyama of Japan and Lidziya Marozava of Belarus 7-5, 7-6 (7/4).
Former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki on Monday withdrew from the singles due to a viral illness before her first-round match against Switzerland’s Stefanie Voegele.
Wozniacki, who won the 2011 title in Dubai, also missed last week’s Qatar Open because of the issue that she first felt around the Christmas holiday and the problem lingered with her through the Australian Open.
She failed to retain her Melbourne crown after losing to Maria Sharapova in the third round of this year’s tournament and is yet to return to the court.
“It sucks. I’ve gotten ready to play these two weeks [Doha and Dubai] where I usually play well,” the Dane said.
“If I can’t even play at a reasonable level, there’s no reason for me to go out there and just play one set — I want to go out there and I want to win,” she added.
Wozniacki was replaced by losing Slovenian qualifier Polona Hercog.
Doha champion Elise Mertens was eliminated after a three-hour struggle, losing to China’s 107th-ranked Zhu Lin 5-7, 6-4, 7-5.
Mertens, the 16th seed, started poorly but rallied to win the first set before Lin struck back, opening a 5-1 lead in the second only for the Belgian to reel her in and get back on serve.
However, Lin held her nerve, claiming the second set to send the match to a decider and recovering from a 3-1 deficit in the third.
Lin, whose best Grand Slam performance came in losing at the third round of last year’s US Open, next plays world No. 23 Lesia Tsurenko.
World No. 56 Ons Jabeur of Tunisia beat Croatian Donna Vekic 6-4, 7-6 (11/9) to claim a second-round spot against reigning champion Elina Svitolina of Ukraine.
With world No. 1 and top seed Naomi Osaka putting Asian women’s tennis back on the map, Jabeur dreams of doing the same for her own continent.
“I’m now the Naomi Osaka of Africa,” she said. “It’s inspiring to see how players can inspire a country or a continent. I’m trying to send a message that it’s not impossible. You have to work hard. I want to see a lot of players from Tunisia to be here one day.”Three Americans secured their places in the second round as Alison Riske upset 13th seed Julia Georges 6-4, 7-4; Sofia Kenin crushed Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-3, 6-0; and Jennifer Brady stunned former Roland Garros champion Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-0.
“I was pleased with the way I was able to finish strong regardless of how I started the match,” world No. 117 Brady said.
KEY GOAL: Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei is now free to focus on taking her fourth doubles title of the year with Barbora Strycova; they are due to face Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya Taiwanese No. 1 Hsieh Su-wei on Monday returned to the court for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic shut down the WTA Tour, falling to a 6-3, 6-1 defeat to US Open quarter-finalist Elise Mertens, who made a solid transition from the hard courts in New York to the clay at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. “I’m not sure how well I adapted, to be honest,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “I just feel like I might still be struggling a little. It was also [Hsieh’s] first match of the week, so that was a bit of an
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
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