Taiwan’s Hsieh, Serena Williams march on

Staff writer, with AFP and Reuters, LONDON

Tue, Jul 03, 2012 - Page 20

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei advanced to the second round of the mixed doubles yesterday, while four-time women’s singles champion Serena Williams survived a grueling examination from Yaroslava Shvedova to reach the quarter-finals with a 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 victory.

Hsieh and her partner, Britain’s Colin Fleming, completed their held-over match, rallying to defeat Andre Sa of Brazil and Anastasia Rodionova of Australia 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Hseih and Fleming were scheduled to play their second-round match later yesterday against Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and the Czech Republic’s Andrea Hlavackova.

In the women’s singles, Williams looked set to cruise through as she took the first set in emphatic fashion, but Kazakh wild-card Shvedova has been in superb form, winning all 24 points and dropping none in a Golden Set against Sara Errani in the previous round, and she hit back impressively to force the American to a final set.

Williams, also taken to three sets by Zheng Jie in the previous round, showed why she is a 13-time Grand Slam champion as she finally subdued her gritty opponent to set up a quarter-final clash with defending champion Petra Kvitova.

“Drama again. I love the drama,” Williams said. “I knew the whole time I could play better, but I feel fine. I’m not tired. I feel it’s going good. The bottom line is I can play so much better than I am.”

Williams has not won a Grand Slam title since her fourth Wimbledon triumph in 2010 and her first-round exit from the French Open against Virginie Razzano last month ranked as her worst ever result at a major, but she clearly still has the appetite for more success.

Once again Williams was sent out on Court Two, while several players who have won far less than her 13 Grand Slams enjoyed the more glamorous confines of Center Court and Court One.

Williams has never hidden her unhappiness about her frequent trips to Wimbledon’s shadowlands and she started as if determined to spend as little time as possible on the court.

Shvedova completed the first Golden Set in Grand Slam history on Saturday, but a repeat was never on the cards against Williams and the American quickly stamped her authority on the match in blustery conditions, taking the first game with two aces, before immediately breaking Shvedova.

Shvedova, the Wimbledon doubles champion in 2010, had not dropped a set en route to reaching the last 16 for the first time, but that run was over within 26 minutes as Williams kept up her brutal assault from the baseline, breaking again for a 4-0 lead, before serving out the set.

Yet Williams found it much harder to stay on top in a second set that saw a complete change of momentum as Shvedova unleashed some fiery strokes of her own.

It seemed to unnerve Williams, who earned a code violation for racket abuse after another accurate shot from the Kazakh put her under pressure again.

Shvedova began to match the power of Williams and a pair of breaks leveled the match at one set all, but Williams showed her experience to land the decisive break late in the final set.

Kvitova came back from a set and a break down to beat Italian Francesca Schiavone 4-6, 7-5, 6-1 in a rain-disrupted match.

Kvitova, the fourth seed, looked to be in trouble when the former French Open champion went a set and 2-1 up, taking advantage of a double fault to help her break the Czech, but Kvitova broke straight back and went 6-5 up, before light rain began falling.

The match continued after a series of stops and starts, and Schiavone was clearly unhappy at being told to resume play early in the third set, complaining that the grass was damp. As she continued to glower and mutter, Kvitova raced through two breaks to wrap up the set in 39 minutes.