Hsieh Su-wei cruises into second round

A SU-WEI STROLL::The Taiwanese crushed Tatjana Maria of Germany on a first day that saw Roger Federer ease through, while Victoria Azarenka had a nasty fall

Staff writer, with AP and Reuters, LONDON

Tue, Jun 25, 2013 - Page 20

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei cruised into the second round of the women’s singles at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, London, yesterday after a 6-1, 6-0 domination of Tatjana Maria of Germany.

Hsieh wrapped up the victory in 50 minutes as she fired eight winners to her opponent’s one.

The Taiwanese next faces No. 29 seed Alize Cornet of France, who rallied to beat Vania King of the US 4-6, 6-3, 6-1.

It did not take long to produce the first upset on the opening day.

Puerto Rican teenager Monica Puig slugged 38 winners and eliminated fifth seed Sara Errani of Italy 6-3, 6-2 in the first match on Court 18.

The 19-year-old Puig, playing her first grass-court tournament as a professional, completely outplayed the Italian veteran with her hard-hitting baseline game.

Errani was the runner-up at last year’s French Open and had reached at least the semi-finals of three of the past five Grand Slams, but on the slick grass at the All England Lawn Tennis Club she had only 13 winners and was broken four times.

Puig squandered five match points, before hitting a forehand winner past Errani to close out the match. The Puerto Rican dropped her racket to the turf and covered her face in her hands.

Errani withdrew from last week’s grass-court warmup in Eastbourne with a leg injury, but showed no signs of any physical problems during the match.

It was the third time a top five women’s seed has lost in the first round at Wimbledon since 2001. The others were Martina Hingis in 2000 and Francesca Schiavone in 2010.

Yesterday’s defeat marked another humbling Wimbledon exit for Errani.

Last year, the Italian went an entire set without winning a point in losing 6-0, 6-4 in the third round to Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan. Shvedova was the first player in a Grand Slam to achieve a so-called “golden set” by winning 24 straight points.

In another early women’s match, former world No. 1 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia advanced with a 7-6 (7/1), 6-0 win over qualifier Virginie Razzano of France.

The 12th seed, a semi-finalist in 2007, swept through the second set in 22 minutes, finishing the match with her sixth ace.

Defending men’s champion Roger Federer opened his bid for his eight Wimbledon title with the first match on Centre Court against Victor Hanescu of Romania.

It was 10 years ago that Federer won his first Wimbledon championship.

Federer began his defense of his title by breezing to a straight sets victory over Romania’s Victor Hanescu. The third seed barely broke sweat in demolishing his 48th-ranked opponent 6-3, 6-2, 6-0, with the final set taking only 17 minutes.

On a chilly afternoon, Federer strolled serenely around the lush court and was never remotely troubled in a match that lasted only 68 minutes.

“I’ve won it [Wimbledon] a few times now, but it still feels special,” Federer told the BBC. “I still enjoy myself in the first round and it’s a pleasure playing on Centre Court again this year. I thought it was a good first round for me. I’m very happy, conditions are pretty cold, but it releases some of the pressure now.”

Hanescu lost his opening service game and was 3-0 down within six minutes as Federer showcased his broad armory of attacking shots.

His serve regularly found the lines, with the Romanian floundering in his search for answers and unable to find any sort of rhythm.

Federer next faces Ukraine’s Sergiy Stakhovsky in the next round.

Women’s second seed Victoria Azarenka fought through the pain barrier after a nasty fall to beat Maria Joao Koehler 6-1, 6-2 and reach the second round.

The Belarussian had cruised through the first set against the Portuguese world No. 106 and was one point away from going 2-0 up in the second when she slipped behind the baseline while trying to reach a shot and almost did the splits.

Azarenka screamed in agony as she lay on the grass, with some spectators taking a moment to realize the noise was real pain, rather than the usual shrieks that accompany her every shot, and she received treatment there, before taking a medical timeout.

Her right knee was strapped as she walked gingerly back to continue the match, serving two double faults immediately, before eventually losing the game.

Hobbling between shots and unable to run for anything that landed away from where she was standing, Azarenka looked relieved when she won the match thanks to the errors of Koehler, who failed to capitalize on her opponent’s lack of mobility.

Also scheduled on Centre Court later yesterday were former women’s champion Maria Sharapova, facing Kristina Mladenovic of France, and British No. 2 seed Andy Murray, playing Benjamin Becker of Germany.

Murray, who lost to Federer in last year’s final, beat the Swiss star a month later for the Olympic gold medal and won his first Grand Slam at the US Open last year. He is bidding again to become the first British player to win the men’s Wimbledon trophy since Fred Perry in 1936.