Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei yesterday survived a scare as she began her Japan Women’s Open title defense with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory over Japanese wild-card Risa Ozaki in Hiroshima.
The top seed and defending champion, who won her third WTA title last year after defeating Amanda Anisimova in the final, looked to be cruising a one-sided first set in which she saved all four break points she faced and converted three of four.
“I was thinking there would be a lot of pressure as the defending champion, but I was really relaxed and tried to enjoy the match... The first match is never easy, I was trying to find my rhythm,” the world No. 29 told the WTA Web site.
However, the Japanese battled back in the second set, winning 78 percent of her second serves, saving the one break point she face and converting two of five to even the match.
“Often happens when I win one set,” Hsieh said. “I lose a little bit of concentration — I need to fix this.”
Hsieh did indeed fix it in the third set, as the Taiwanese won 12 of the first 14 points and built a 4-0 lead that would prove unassailable as she completed the victory in 1 hour, 56 minutes and improved her career record against the Japanese world No. 292 to 2-0 after a straight-sets victory at Indian Wells in California last year.
Anastasia Potapova and Tatjana Maria, unlike Hsieh, were unable to survive first-round upsets yesterday.
Russian fourth seed Potapova fell to a 6-7 (4/7), 6-4, 6-4 defeat to Australian qualifier Zoe Hives, while German fifth seed Maria crashed out 6-4, 6-4 to Japanese wild-card Kurumi Nara.
In the second round today, Hsieh is due to face Australian world No. 123 Priscilla Hon, who on Sunday also survived a second-set fightback to overcome Poland’s Katarzyna Kawa 6-0, 1-6, 6-4.
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