Hsieh and Peng cruise into quarter-finals

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, BEIJING

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - Page 20

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai of China cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the China Open in Beijing yesterday, while fellow Taiwanese Chan Hao-ching and her partner, Liezel Huber of the US, failed to build on Monday’s heroics when they stunned the Williams sisters.

Second seeds Hsieh and Peng took just over an hour to dispose of Germany’s Julia Goerges and Barbora Zahlavova Strycova of the Czech Republic 6-3, 6-4 to set up a quarter-final clash with sixth-seeded US duo Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears, with the added incentive of knowing that if they claim the title at the weekend they will clinch a spot at the WTA Championships in Istanbul, Turkey, later this month.

Chan and Huber came close to causing a second upset in two days, but they narrowly lost to top-seeded Italians Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, who won 6-4, 6-7 (4/7), 10-8.

In the first round of the men’s singles, Russia’s Nikolay Davydenko proved too hot for Lu Yen-hsun as he swept the Taiwanese No. 1 aside 7-6 (7/3), 6-4 in just over an hour and a half, while men’s favorites Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal powered through their opening matches.

Djokovic signaled his intent to reclaim the title he won in the Chinese capital last year, sweeping aside Lukas Rosol 6-0, 6-3.

The Serbian world No. 1 — and top seed — dumped out his Czech challenger in just 53 minutes.

Nadal, who could unseat Djokovic in the world rankings after Beijing, faced slightly more resistance from Santiago Giraldo, with the Spaniard claiming a 6-2, 6-4 win in about 90 minutes.

The second seed next faces German Philipp Kohlschreiber, while Djokovic meets Spain’s Fernando Verdasco in the second round.

Nadal said he would look back on his career with pride even if he does not eclipse Roger Federer’s record 17 Grand Slam titles.

The world No. 2 currently has 13 and has been in sizzling form this season after a long-term injury.

Tennis legends Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras have reportedly said the Spaniard could overtake Federer before the 27-year-old finishes his tennis career.

“If that happens or that not happens, the only thing I am sure is when I am going to leave this tour I am going to be very happy about what I did,” Nadal told reporters in Beijing.

Nadal believes he would need to sustain his form — and crucially his fitness — for the next four years if he is to better Federer’s Grand Slam achievements.

“I tried everything in every practice, in every match. I gave everything. When you try your best every day, that’s all that you can do. I think I did. So that’s why I am going to be happy,” Nadal said.

Fifth seed Richard Gasquet and sixth seed Stanislas Wawrinka both safely negotiated their way through.

France’s Gasquet defeated Florian Mayer of Germany 6-3, 7-6 (7/2), while Switzerland’s Wawrinka needed three sets to overcome Italian Andreas Seppi 4-6, 6-3, 6-4.

Verdasco claimed victory over Somdev Devvarman of India 7-6 (8/6), 6-3 and Sam Querrey of the US defeated Mikhail Youzhny of Russia 7-6 (7/3), 6-3.

In the women’s singles, world No. 1 Serena Williams at times appeared agitated during her 6-4, 7-5 victory over Italian Francesca Schiavone, shouting at herself over lost points.

The American only showed rare moments of her trademark power, gaining the upper hand in the first set via a mistake from her opponent, who double-faulted on set point.

Top seed Williams was forced to become more aggressive in the second set after her serve was broken in the first game by Schiavone, Italy’s first Grand Slam winner at Roland Garros in 2010 and the current world No. 50.

As the competition intensified both players’ tempers threatened to boil over, with Williams ranting and Schiavone smashing balls into the barriers at the side of the court, but Williams seemed calmer — and quieter — as she closed in on a hard-earned victory.

Meanwhile, her sister Venus crashed out 6-1, 6-2 to Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki.

No. 12 seed Carla Suarez Navarro defeated Lauren Davis of the US 6-4, 6-2 to book her place in the third round, while fans favorite Li Na of China took less than an hour to dispose of Serbia’s Bojana Jovanovski 6-0, 6-1.