The Chan sisters yesterday advanced to the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Australian Open, but it was a bad day for Taiwanese in the mixed doubles at the first Grand Slam of the season.
Seventh seeds Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan had to work hard at Melbourne Park’s 1573 Arena for a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 third-round victory over Misaki Doi of Japan and Monica Niculescu of Romania in 1 hour, 50 minutes.
The Chan sisters saved six of eight break points and converted three of five, winning 63 percent of points on their second serve and hitting 22 winners to set up a quarter-final today against third seeds Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka after the Belgian-Belarusian duo had to rally from a set down to defeat 13th seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Alison Riske 5-7, 6-3, 6-2.
Chan Hao-ching then returned to 1573 Arena later in the day alongside Michael Venus of New Zealand in the second round of the mixed doubles.
However, the fourth seeds fell to a shock 6-2, 6-3 defeat to Polish duo Iga Swiatek and Lukasz Kabot in just 62 minutes.
Also crashing out was fellow Taiwanese Hsieh su-wei and her partner, Neal Skupski of Britain.
Photo: screen grab from Facebook
The eighth seeds were felled 3-6, 6-3, 11-9 by Zheng Saisai of China and Joran Vliegen of Belgium in 1 hour, 25 minutes on Court 3.
In the men’s singles, Rafael Nadal left the muttering and the preening, the underarm serving and the tweening to his younger, flashier opponent, Nick Kyrgios.
Surely, Nadal was content to collect the win in the latest installment of their rivalry.
The world No. 1 kept his thoughts to himself and limited his shots to the more traditional variety in an entertaining 6-3, 3-6, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/4) win over home favorite Kyrgios to reach the quarter-finals and get closer to a record-tying 20th Grand Slam title.
“What can I say again about Nick? When he is playing like today, with this positive attitude, he gives a lot of positive things to our sport. So I encourage him to keep working like this,” Nadal said. “Honestly, he is one of the highest talents that we have on our tour.”
Kyrgios delivered 25 aces and some memorable moments — including walking out on court and warming up for the match in a No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers shirt to honor Kobe Bryant, the five-time NBA champion who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday aged 41.
“I wake up this morning with this terrible news. Super sad,” Nadal said about Bryant. “He has been one of the greatest sportsmen in history.”
A video tribute to Bryant was played on the Rod Laver Arena scoreboards before the match.
Nadal’s 41st career Grand Slam quarter-final is to be against fifth seed Dominic Thiem tomorrow in a rematch of the past two French Open finals, both won by Nadal.
The other men’s quarter-final in the top half of the draw is seventh seed Alexander Zverev against 15th seed Stan Wawrinka, who is a three-time major champion, including at the Australian Open in 2014.
There will be a first-time women’s champion at Melbourne Park this year, because the last remaining previous winner in the draw, Angelique Kerber, was beaten 6-7 (5/7), 7-6 (7/4), 6-2 by 30th seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova.
Pavlyuchenkova faces Garbine Muguruza in the quarter-finals tomorrow, when Simona Halep meets 28th seed Anett Kontaveit.
The match of the day was Nadal against Kyrgios, in part because of the quality of the play. There was also a subplot: Put simply, Nadal and Kyrgios do not get along.
They traded verbal barbs in the media last year after Kyrgios beat Nadal at a tournament in Mexico (which is why a spectator kept yelling “Acapulco” in the stadium).
When they met again at Wimbledon in July, Kyrgios ripped a shot right at Nadal’s midsection, then refused to apologize.
Kyrgios came into this one following a five-set win, sapping energy and emotion, and it appeared to affect him in the early going.
Meanwhile, Nadal looked like he was just back from vacation and fresh as can be.
The first set quickly belonged to Nadal. Yet the entire tenor shifted in the second, which was preceded by a bit of confusion for Nadal.
He left two rackets at his sideline seat while he headed to the bathroom after the opening set, saying that he wanted one restrung. When he returned, he realized the wrong one had been removed.
Soon enough it was a set apiece and Kyrgios was strutting to the sideline with a towel dangling from his teeth.
Kyrgios complained about a line judge who he thought was laughing at him and he was warned for racket abuse after destroying one by spiking it after flubbing a shot in the third-set tiebreaker.
The way the fourth set ended probably angered Kyrgios, too, but he quickly packed up his things and left.
US Open champion Emma Raducanu’s grandmother Niculina Raducanu wanted her to quit tennis because of concern about the teen’s health after breathing difficulties forced her to retire from Wimbledon this year. The 88-year-old Romanian told the Daily Mail that her granddaughter’s “health is more important” than wealth or fame. Fortunately for the 18-year-old Briton, neither her father, Ian Raducanu — Niculina Raducanu’s son — nor her Chinese mother, Renee Raducanu, took the advice and she swept through the US Open to become the first qualifier to win a Grand Slam title. Niculina Raducanu — known to Emma as “Mamiya,” a Romanian term of
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