Thu, Jul 11, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Duo Hsieh and Strycova advance to quarter-finals

Staff writer, with CNA

The US’ Serena Williams and Britain’s Andy Murray return to France’s Fabrice Martin and the US’ Raquel Atawo in their Wimbledon mixed doubles match in London on Tuesday.

Photo: AP

As the women’s doubles pairing of Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and the Czech Republic’s Barbara Strycova advanced to the quarter-finals and the mixed doubles “Dream Team” of Serena Williams and Andy Murray eased into the third round, Taiwan’s Chan sisters were not as fortunate.

Hsieh and Strycova continued their strong run at Wimbledon, toppling the 15th-seeded Romanian pairing of Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu 6-3, 6-4 to move into the quarter-finals.

The third seeds have yet to drop a set in the tournament, but they were to face their toughest test yesterday when playing sixth seeds Elise Mertens of Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus for a spot in the semi-finals.

Hsieh and Strycova, both 33, lost to Mertens and Sabalenka earlier this year at the Miami Open in a super tiebreaker in the round-of-16.

On Tuesday, the two took to the court just 90 minutes after Strycova reached the semi-finals in the women’s singles draw, with a straight-sets win over Britain’s Johanna Konta, but that did not seem to hamper the duo’s performance, at least initially.

The two broke serve in their Romanian opponents’ first two service games, giving them an edge that they would not relinquish. They faced a much sterner test in the second set as Strycova appeared to tire somewhat, but their chemistry on court and clutch play on big points pulled them through.

After scoring a break in the third game, Hsieh and Strycova needed to save a break point in the sixth game, three more break points in the eighth game and another break point in the final game before finally clinching the match.

Their next opponents secured a spot in the quarter-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 victory against the ninth-seeded Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching of Taiwan.

The Chan sisters entered the match in good form, having lost only nine games in their first two matches, but struggles on serve led to their downfall.

They won only 44 percent of the points in which they got their first serve in, resulting in holds of only half of their service games.

Centre Court on Tuesday belonged to Serena Williams, as the American returned, after reaching her 37th Grand Slam singles semi-final, with Britain’s Andy Murray.

The mixed doubles “Dream Team” put on a show for the thousands of fans who had hung around into the evening to watch.

“SerAndy” or “Murrena,” as the multiple Grand Slam-winning duo have been dubbed, eased into the third round with a 7-5, 6-3 win over the US’ Raquel Atawo and France’s Fabrice Martin.

Williams seemed to want to get off the court as fast as possible as the evening drew in, smashing winners left and right, roaring and fist-pumping in celebration as each one flew off her racket.

“I am having a blast,” she said. “Obviously it has been a great atmosphere playing out there with Andy, so it is great.”

Playing with home favorite Murray meant that Williams had the Centre Court crowd firmly in her corner and they loudly roared their approval throughout as she fired a string of superb return winners.

“I do not expect that to ever happen again. I’m convinced that was once in a lifetime. I just never hit returns like that in my life,” Williams said.

A truer test of their doubles credentials will come in the next round when they face top seeds Bruno Soares of Brazil and Nicole Melichar of the US.

Soares won Grand Slam doubles titles with Andy’s older brother Jamie at the US and Australian opens in 2016.

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