Wed, Jun 26, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan’s Hsieh outlasts Italy’s Giorgi

WINNING START:Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei outlasted world No. 41 Camila Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a first-round tussle lasting 2 hours, 13 minutes on the English south coast

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, EASTBOURNE, England

Russia’s Margarita Gasparyan receives from Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in their Nature Valley International women’s singles second-round match in Eastbourne, England, on Monday.

Photo: Reuters

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei on Monday battled into the second round of the Nature Valley International on the grass courts in Eastbourne, England, while second seed Karolina Pliskova was just happy not to have her twin sister on the other side of the net as she also made a winning start.

Hsieh outlasted world No. 41 Camila Giorgi 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 in a first-round tussle that lasted 2 hours, 13 minutes on the English south coast.

The world No. 29 saved two of seven break points and converted seven of 18, taking advantage of her opponent’s 16 double faults to even her career record against the Italian to 1-1 after she lost their only previous encounter at the US Open in 2013.

The Taiwanese 33-year-old was next due to face another tough task against world No. 7 Simona Halep, who she defeated at Wimbledon last year.

Former world No. 1 Pliskova, given a bye in the opening round, booked her spot in the round-of-16 with a straightforward 6-3, 6-3 defeat of Margarita Gasparyan on the Devonshire Park grass.

It was her first match since losing a three-set thriller to world No. 112 Kristyna Pliskova in Birmingham last week in what was the first WTA Tour meeting between the Czech 27-year-olds.

“I didn’t really enjoy myself if I compare my match today and the match with Kristyna,” said the big-serving world No. 3, who will be one of the fancied players at next week’s Wimbledon. “It’s totally different feeling if you play somebody, you know, not from your family. I didn’t enjoy the match at all, not even for a while, but on the other hand, I’m just happy that it happened, because it can happen in the future.”

Karolina Pliskova, champion at Eastbourne in 2017, but still awaiting her first Grand Slam title, next faces either Elise Mertens or fellow Czech Marketa Vondrousova for a place in the quarter-finals.

Vondrousova was playing her first match since the French Open final she lost to Ashleigh Barty.

The 13th seed beat China’s Zheng Saisai 6-2, 6-3 for her first WTA Tour victory on grass — a surface she admits is still something of a puzzle.

“You have to be more aggressive on grass and have a high first-serve percentage,” said Vondrousova, whose game is perfect for the slower clay courts.

Not that she will put the drop-shot back in the box though, the shot she used to such devastating effect during her run to the final at Roland Garros.

“I think I tried five today and made two, so we’ll see,” she said. “It’s about using more slice.”

Reigning Eastbourne champion Caroline Wozniacki opened her defense with a 6-3 6-4 win over Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens, while former French Open champion and last year’s Wimbledon semi-finalist Jelena Ostapenko won the last four games in each set to beat Romania’s Mihaela Buzarnescu 6-4, 6-4 and set up a clash with Sloane Stephens of the US.

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