Wed, Jul 10, 2019 - Page 16 News List

The Hsiehs’ ‘seasonal’ partnership

Staff writer, with CNA

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-Wei serves to the Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova in their Wimbledon women’s singles third-round match at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in England on Friday last week.

Photo: AFP

The first and quite probably the last collaboration between Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and her brother Hsieh Cheng-peng in mixed doubles at a Grand Slam event came to an abrupt end at Wimbledon on Monday.

Taiwan’s Latisha Chan and Ivan Dodig of Croatia easily toppled the Hsiehs in the second round of the mixed doubles 6-3, 6-2 in 66 minutes and are next to face 11th seeds Edouard Roger-Vasselin of France and Andreja Klepac of Slovenia.

Chan and Dodig have won the French Open mixed doubles the past two years and are seeded eighth at Wimbledon.

After winning their opening-round match, the Hsiehs said that they were playing together to have fun and were not worried about winning or losing, and Monday’s defeat actually came as something of a relief to the sister who has been active at this year’s Wimbledon.

She also reached the third round of the women’s singles before losing to third-seed Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in a three-set match, and was to compete yesterday in women’s doubles.

Playing all three events created a schedule that was too packed, she said, thanking her younger brother’s legs for getting her through Monday’s match.

The Hsiehs had previously suggested that they were unlikely to play together again in the near future, which they confirmed after Monday’s defeat.

Hsieh Cheng-peng said that they teamed up this year at the urging of his sister’s coach, Paul McNamee, who felt they would play well as a team.

However, he compared the pairing to the fresh strawberries served at Wimbledon, calling it “seasonal,” and joked that this year’s “season” was particularly short, lasting only two days.

His elder sister needed to conserve her energy because she might have needed to play more aggressively in her doubles match.

Her partner, 33-year-old Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, was to face Britain’s Johanna Konta in an early singles match and would only have a few hours rest before playing doubles.

“For veterans like us, being able to compete in a Grand Slam is really precious. The main emphasis is still on singles, so if one of us is still in the singles draw, the other will cover [for her in doubles] as much as possible. That’s the chemistry we have,” Hsieh said.

Hsieh and Strycova, seeded third at Wimbledon, were to face 15th-seeded Romanians Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu.

Meanwhile, out of escapes, out of surprises, Coco Gauff knew her captivating Wimbledon ride at age 15 was nearing its conclusion.

The thousands of spectators at Court No. 1 on Monday also realized it, so they made sure to show their appreciation for the youngest qualifier at the All England Club in the professional era and youngest Week 2 participant since 1991.

“I wasn’t feeling my best, I wasn’t playing my best,” Gauff said as she wiped away tears at her news conference.

Djokovic, Federer and Nadal all won in straight sets and are all in the quarters of a major tournament for the 24th time.

For Gauff, this was her seventh match in short order — three in qualifying, four in the main draw — and while she insisted she was not fatigued, she looked it.

Still, with serves reaching 119mph, a dynamic backhand that landed near lines and aggressive volleying, Gauff made an impression on anyone who watched her.

Not to mention anyone who played her.

“It’s a great performance. I think if she keeps going, she will be [in the] top 10 soon,” Halep said. “She will be a very tough opponent for everybody. If she keeps doing what she did here, she’s going to get a lot of confidence and she can win big tournaments soon.”

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