Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Liezel Huber of the US pulled off arguably the biggest upset of the day at the China Open in Beijing yesterday, rallying from a set down to knock Serena and Venus Williams out of the women’s doubles competition in the first round.
Chan and Huber fought back after losing the first set in a tiebreaker to down the Williams sisters 6-7 (3/7), 6-4, 11-9.
Chan and Huber, fresh from their loss to Zimbabwe’s Cara Black and Sania Mirza of India in the Pan Pacific Open doubles final in Tokyo on Saturday last week, converted four of their nine break-point chances to set up a second-round clash with top-seeded Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci.
Another Taiwanese to advance in the women’s doubles yesterday was elder sister, Chan Yung-jan, and her partner, Zheng Jie of China, who beat China’s Zhang Shuai and Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakstan 6-3, 3-6, 10-5.
Chan Yung-jan and Zhang had teamed up on Friday night to win the doubles at the WTA 125 tournament in Ningbo, China, but it was the Taiwanese and her new partner who triumphed to set up a second-round clash with third-seeded Australian duo Ashleigh Barty and Casey Dellacqua.
In the men’s doubles, Taiwanese No. 1 Lu Yen-hsun was not so fortunate as he and his partner, Wu Di of China, fell to a 6-4, 6-3 first-round defeat by third seeds Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi of Pakistan and Jean-Julien Rojer of the Netherlands.
In the women’s singles, Hsieh Su-wei’s run of poor form continued as she crashed to a 6-1, 6-1 loss to world No. 25 Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia.
Reigning champion Victoria Azarenka also crashed out in the first round as the second seed faced stiff resistance from former finalist Andrea Petkovic.
The Belarussian world No. 2 rarely showed glimpses of the form which helped her claim the title last year, at times appearing sluggish as she committed a staggering 15 double faults in the 6-4, 2-6, 6-4 loss.
It is the second early exit in a row for the 24-year-old, who complained of feeling ill when she was defeated by Venus Williams in the second round of the Pan Pacific Open in Tokyo last week.
Azarenka appeared agitated in the opening set at Beijing’s National Tennis Center, even before German Petkovic broke her serve following a string of double faults.
The second seed regained her composure in the second set and appeared to be on course for victory when she broke Petkovic at the start of the third. However, the 2011 finalist then seized the initiative, claiming the victory in 2 hours, 22 minutes.
China’s Zhang continued her sizzling form, defeating compatriot Peng Shuai 6-3, 6-3 to set up a second-round match against 10th seed Vinci.
It was also a successful day for three Serbian players.
Eighth seed Jelana Jankovic needed three sets to overcome Russia’s Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova 1-6, 6-4, 6-0, while Ana Ivanovic claimed a 7-6 (11/9), 6-1 victory over Italy’s Flavia Pennetta.
Bojana Jovanovski rounded off a hat-trick for Serbia, beating Romania’s Sorana Cirstea 6-3, 6-2.
Also in the first round, Canadian Eugenie Bouchard defeated Slovakia’s Magdalena Rybarikova 6-4, 6-1; Galina Voskoboeva of Kazakhstan beat Canada’s Sharon Fichman 6-4, 6-3; and Italy’s Errani, the fifth seed, cruised past Japan’s Misaki Doi 6-3, 6-2.
In the men’s singles, it was heartbreak for the home crowd after China’s top-ranked player fell at the first hurdle.
Zhang Ze was knocked out by Australian No. 1 Bernard Tomic 7-6 (7/4), 6-4. Tomic next takes on fifth seed Richard Gasquet.
Australia’s Lleyton Hewitt also advanced when he beat seventh seed Tommy Haas 7-6 (8/6), 6-3.
In other matches, Germany’s Philipp Kohlschreiber beat Albert Montanes of Spain 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (7/4); Fabio Fognini of Italy defeated Spain’s Tommy Robredo 7-5, 4-6, 6-3; and Roberto Bautista of Spain downed Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria 6-4, 6-2.