Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Chuang Chia-jung swept into the second round of the doubles at the China Open tennis tournament in Beijing yesterday, while Britain’s teenage star Laura Robson took another step forward in her quest to break into the world’s top 50 in the singles, battling past an opponent more than twice her age.
Hsieh and Anabel Medina Garrigues cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Australia’s Casey Dellacqua and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik of Poland, while Chuang and Zhang Shuai of China defeated South Africa’s Natalie Grandin and Vladimira Uhlirova of the Czech Republic 6-4, 6-3.
Robson, the world No. 57, who reached the final of the Guangzhou Open earlier last month, continued her Asia adventure by defeating Japan’s Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-4, 6-4 to ease into the second round, but it was far from plain sailing for the 18-year-old, who fought back brilliantly from three games down in the first set, winning five without reply against Date-Krumm, 42, as youth ultimately overpowered experience.
“I’m feeling confident when I play at the moment. Even when I’m not playing my best, like I was today, I still feel that I am able to win matches,” Robson said.
Date-Krumm raced to a 4-1 lead in the first set as Robson struggled with her serve and made a number of unforced errors, but several big forehands from the young Briton saw her gain confidence and the Japanese was no match for her opponent’s power.
Robson, who ended last year in 131st place in the WTA standings, took the second set with relative ease, maintaining her recent momentum in the “Asia swing” of the WTA Tour.
“I was a double break down in the first set, and I knew I had to get a lot better and start moving my feet a bit more,” Robson said. “She’s a tough opponent to play against because she hits the ball very low, so you have to bend your legs a lot more than I like to.”
Robson said she was disappointed with her lack of rhythm, but was confident she would play “a lot better” in the next round.
The mixed doubles silver medalist at the London Olympics has shot up the world rankings this year, in large part due to a fourth-round appearance at the US Open and her exploits in Guangzhou, and she now has the top 50 in her sights.
“After this week, I should be pretty close,” she said. “I’ve got to keep winning here for sure and do well in Osaka [the following week] to have a chance.”
Robson is set to play Spain’s Lourdes Dominguez Lino, who defeated Roberta Vinci of Italy 6-7 (4/7) 7-6 (7/4) 6-2, in the next round.
Elsewhere, sixth seed Sara Errani of Italy was forced to retire with a thigh injury, meaning compatriot Camila Giorgi went through.
Russians Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina also advanced with straight-sets victories over Maria Kirilenko and Mona Barthel respectively.
Monica Niculescu of Romania beat 16th seed Lucie Safarova of the Czech Republic 6-2, 6-0, while Ayumi Morita of Japan knocked out Spain’s Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor 6-3, 6-0 and China’s Peng Shuai beat Yanina Wickmayer of Belgium 7-5, 7-5.
In the evening matches, Li Na of China beat Italy’s Francesca Schiavone 6-2, 6-3, while Vania King of the US was tied 6-6 with Germany’s Julia Goerges at press time.