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.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
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Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017