Thu, Jun 20, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Hsieh reaches quarters in Birmingham

‘I GOT LUCKY’:World No. 1 Naomi Osaka notched her 11th WTA Tour-level victory on grass after recovering from a dropped second set to defeat Greek Maria Sakkari

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP, BIRMINGHAM, England

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Tuesday advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles at the Nature Valley Classic in Birmingham, England, while world No. 1 Naomi Osaka needed three sets to get past her first-round opponent in the singles.

Second seeds Hsieh and Barbora Strycova rallied from a set down against Darija Jurak of Croatia and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia to complete a 4-6, 6-1, 10-8 victory in 68 minutes on the grass courts at Edgbaston Priory Club.

The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved four of six break points and converted three of six to set up a quarter-final against Raquel Atawo and Lyudmyla Kichenok after the American-Ukrainian pairing defeated Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania and Heather Watson of Britain 6-4, 6-3, also in 68 minutes.

Hsieh and Strycova were due to put their partnership on hold yesterday when they were set to meet in the second round of the singles.

In the singles, Osaka lost the second set to Maria Sakkari of Greece before recovering to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-3 for only her 11th WTA Tour-level victory on grass.

“I was kind of screaming on the inside during that entire match,” Osaka said in her on-court interview. “I got lucky a little bit, I guess.”

Osaka has yet to make it past the third round at Wimbledon, which starts on July 1.

“I felt better than the two practice days and I feel every day that I play on grass, of course, I’m going to learn how to play better, but for now I’m just really happy I was able to win that match,” Osaka said.

Osaka needs to reach the final in Birmingham to guarantee holding on to the world No. l ranking heading into Wimbledon.

“During my entire clay season, it kind of mattered and I think it showed because I was kind of stressed out the entire time,” she said. “So, now, I’m just having fun. I’m enjoying it and I know that if I play well, then I’ll be No. 1.”

Osaka next faces Yulia Putintseva, who defeated Britain’s Harriet Dart 6-1, 6-4.

Rain washed out much of the schedule on Tuesday, with second seed Ashleigh Barty — the newly crowned French Open champion — among those who would have to try again yesterday.

Julia Goerges recovered to defeat Dayana Yastremska 3-6, 6-3, 6-4, while former French Open champion Jelena Ostapenko eased past Wimbledon junior champion Iga Swiatek 6-0, 6-2 and next faces Johanna Konta.

Kristyna Pliskova of the Czech Republic set up a first WTA Tour-level meeting with her twin sister, Karolina, by defeating Viktoriya Tomova 6-3, 6-4.

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