Hsieh Su-wei’s dramatic run at the Miami Open came to an end on Tuesday, when former practice partner Anett Kontaveit of Estonia pulled back from a 4-0 deficit in the final set to snatch a quarter-final victory over the Taiwanese veteran.
Hsieh was knocked out by 23-year-old Kontaveit 3-6, 6-2, 7-5 in two hours in the Premier Mandatory event and felt she might have let up because of her big advantage in the final set.
“Sometimes when you’re leading by a lot, you get a little bit relaxed and you don’t hit the ball as hard as you were before,” the WTA Web site quoted her as saying.
The match reminded Hsieh of her tussle with Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the Australian Open, when she was up a set and 4-2, 40-0 before letting the match get away from her.
The 33-year-old also credited Kontaveit for the comeback and did not use a physical problem as an excuse.
“I had a little pulled muscle, but I didn’t want to call the physio. I was thinking I could keep trying, trying, trying,” Hsieh was quoted as saying.
“The pulled muscle was just small stuff and she did really well to come back after 4-0, because I was playing so good. She did a good job to get revenge and next time I need to be careful,” Hsieh added.
Although she lost a winnable match, Hsieh was still pleased with her strong start to this year, in which she has defeated five top-20 players and hauled in enough ranking points to move her close to her career-high singles ranking of No. 23 next week.
In Miami, she stunned world No. 1 Osaka in three sets after being two points away from defeat and followed that up with another three-set gem against former world No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark to reach the quarter-finals, despite having low expectations entering the event.
“It’s incredible when you’re not practicing well, but you get on the court, forget how you did in practice, play a few good matches and you win them. That’s quite amazing,” she told WTA reporter David Kane. “I’m happy with how we’re doing and I’m thankful for my team. They’re doing a great job getting me into the matches.”
Hsieh was on Tuesday also ousted from the Miami Open women’s doubles after she and partner Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic fell 7-6 (7/3), 2-6, 10-3 in a last-16 match against the in-form duo of Elise Mertens of Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus.
Mertens and Sabalenka were coming off a win in the BNP Paribas Open women’s doubles 10 days ago.
Despite Hsieh’s exit from the singles and doubles events, Taiwan was still alive at the Miami Open as sisters Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching edged through to the semi-finals with a 6-3, 4-6, 10-8 win over Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Daria Kasatkina of Russia in 90 minutes.
Chan Hao-ching clinched the match with a drop-volley winner off a strong down-the-line service return by Bencic, leading Latisha to describe her on Facebook as “a wall at the net.”
The duo, seeded eighth in Miami, won fewer points than their opponents, but took advantage of 80 percent of their break points and survived a 10-8 super tiebreaker for the second time in three matches.
They are to play the winner of yesterday’s showdown pitting Samantha Stosur of Australia and Zhang Shuai of China against Monica Niculescu of Romania and Abigail Spears of the US.
In the men’s singles, top-seeded Novak Djokovic was upset by Roberto Bautista Agut 1-6, 7-5, 6-3 in the fourth round.
Djokovic was looking to win the 850th match of his career against Bautista Agut, but that achievement will have to wait for another tournament.
“This kind of match I should not have lost,” Djokovic said. “I lost the momentum, I lost the rhythm in the second set. I gave him a little room to step in and he did. A little hope that he can come back, and he made a great comeback.”
“But fault is on me, for sure. I had way too many opportunities that I wasted,” he added.
Djokovic lost to Philipp Kohlschreiber of Germany in the third round at Indian Wells.
Djokovic, the president of the ATP Player Council, has been a central figure in recent ATP off-court news.
He was involved when the ATP’s board of directors earlier this month decided not to renew the contract of ATP executive chairman Chris Kermode when it expires at the end of this year.
Initially on Tuesday, Djokovic denied his recent losses were affected by his off-court activities within the game, but later admitted that it might have taken a toll.
“Way too many things off the court,” Djokovic said. “I guess that affected me a little bit on the court.”
“I didn’t feel my best health-wise, as well, in Indian Wells and here. You know, still rusty, but, hey, look, you learn that’s life,” he added.
After racing through the first set against Bautista Agut in 33 minutes, Djokovic lost control of the match.
He only took advantage of four of 13 break points presented, and had his own serve broken on three of seven break points he faced.
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