Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova yesterday lifted their second doubles trophy of the year, after handily defeating China’s Xu Yifan and Canadian Gabriela Dabrowski 6-3, 6-1 in the Mutua Madrid Open.
The Taiwanese-Czech duo needed just more than one hour to dispatch their sixth-seeded opponents, a welcome result after they were both booted out of the singles in the first round.
“When you do well in doubles after not doing so well in singles, or do well at this tournament in either after not doing well for a long time, it is very good and special,” Hsieh told the WTA Web site on Friday.
It was a dominant performance from the fifth seeds, who won more than half of their return points.
They had already proven themselves to be a winning combination once this year in Dubai, claiming the trophy over the Czech-Russian pairing of Lucie Hradecka and Ekaterina Makarova in February.
They took their Premier Mandatory title together last year at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells.
Meanwhile in the men’s singles, Dominic Thiem on Friday saved two match points and ended the first chapter of Roger Federer’s return to clay court tennis with a come-from-behind 3-6, 7-6 (13/11), 6-4 win to reach the semi-finals.
While Federer was heading out, there were no such problems for top seed Novak Djokovic, who made the last four when Marin Cilic withdrew and second seed Rafael Nadal brushed aside Stan Wawrinka 6-1, 6-2.
Thiem prevailed in 2 hours, 10 minutes against Federer having saved two match points in a 15-minute second-set tie-break.
He yesterday was to face world No. 1 Djokovic, who advanced on a walkover when Cilic pulled out with a stomach virus.
Five-time champion Nadal needed just more than an hour to reach his 11th Madrid semi-final and is to face Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas, a winner over defending champion Alexander Zverev by 7-5, 3-6, 6-2.
Federer said he was happy to have made his clay court comeback.
“I feel very good about my game. I thought I had some good matches here,” he said. “I feel good on the clay right now.”
Federer now has the option to take up a wild card being held for him next week in Rome. Otherwise, his next clay event will be the French Open where he last played in 2015.
In the women’s singles, Simona Halep closed in on a return to the top of the world rankings after beating Belinda Bencic 6-2, 6-7 (2/7), 6-0 to advance to the final.
World No. 3 Halep is to reclaim the No. 1 ranking if she wins her third title at the Caja Magica.
Bencic had defeated Halep in their past two matches, but the reigning French Open champion, who lifted the trophy in Madrid in 2016 and 2017, came through in just less than two hours.
Halep is to play Dutch seventh seed Kiki Bertens, a finalist in Madrid last year, who defeated 2017 US Open champion Sloane Stephens 6-2, 7-5.
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