Sat, May 11, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Hsieh and Federer make semis, Osaka falls short

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, MADRID

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Thursday advanced to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Madrid Open, while Roger Federer had to save two match points to defeat Gael Monfils and reach the quarter-finals of the men’s singles.

Fifth seeds Hsieh and Barbora Strycova took just 63 minutes to see off the challenge of third seeds Samantha Stosur of Australia and Zhang Shuai of China 6-2, 6-4.

The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved five of seven break points and converted five of nine, winning 71 percent of their first-serve points and 60 of the 100 points contested to advance to the semi-finals.

The fifth seeds were due to face Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan, after the unseeded duo ousted eighth seeds Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands 6-4, 6-3 in 58 minutes.

In the men’s singles, Federer, playing only his second match of a comeback on clay after three years away, needed two hours to defeat French showman Monfils 6-0, 4-6, 7-6 (7/3).

Women’s top seed Naomi Osaka fell for the second time in two months to Swiss Belinda Bencic, exiting 3-6, 6-2, 7-5.

Czech second seed Petra Kvitova, the defending champion, was also a shock loser, going down 6-2, 6-3 to Kiki Bertens, the Dutch seventh seed who was runner-up in last year’s final.

However, men’s top seed Novak Djokovic motored into the last eight as he hammered Jeremy Chardy 6-1, 7-6 (7/2), while five-time champion Rafael Nadal dispatched Frances Tiafoe 6-3, 6-4.

Nadal was next to play Stan Wawrinka after the Swiss completed a national hat-trick on the day, beating Japanese sixth seed Kei Nishikori 6-3, 7-6 (7/3).

Defending champion Alexander Zverev came from breaks down in both of the last two sets to get past error-prone Pole Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 6-4, and was due to play eighth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas, a 6-3, 6-4 winner against Fernando Verdasco.

Dominic Thiem, last year’s runner-up, defeated Monte Carlo winner Fabio Fognini 6-4, 7-5.

Against an inspired Bencic, Osaka served for the match in the third set leading 5-4, but could not get to a backhand return winner.

“I feel like I was negative on myself, but I tried to fix it in the third set, but my service percentage was down,” Osaka said.

Djokovic, who now boasts a staggering 66-2 record against French players, said he is slowly lifting his clay game.

“Coming into the match I had confidence knowing I’d never lost to my opponent,” he said.

Djokovic was due to face ninth seed Marin Cilic after the Croatian put out Laslo Djere 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Two-time women’s champion Simona Halep overcame Ashleigh Barty 7-5, 7-5 to reach her fourth semi-final at La Caja Magica.

The Romanian third seed was due to face Bencic.

Former US Open winner Sloane Stephens downed Petra Martic of Croatia 6-4, 6-3 and was due to face Bertens.

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