Hsieh, Peng sail to round three, Federer also cruises

DOUBLES VISION::It has been a good couple of days for Taiwanese players in London, as Hsieh’s compatriot Chan Hao-ching and Max Mirny advanced in the mixed doubles

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with Reuters, LONDON

Wed, Jul 02, 2014 - Page 19

Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Peng Shuai of China, the reigning champions and top seeds, cruised into the third round of the women’s doubles competition at Wimbledon yesterday with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Ukraine’s Yuliya Beygelzimer and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik of Poland.

The cross-strait duo converted four of five break-point chances in their much-delayed second-round match to triumph in 1 hour, 2 minutes on Court 12 at the All England Lawn Tennis Club in London and set up a third-round clash with 14th seeds Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France.

There was more good news for Taiwanese players in the second round of the mixed doubles on Monday, with 14th seeds Chan Hao-ching and her partner Max Mirnyi of Belarus defeating Vania King of the US and Tomasz Bednarek of Poland 7-6 (7-5), 6-4.

The victorious Taiwanese-Belarussian duo next face the winner of yesterday’s match between the US’ Mike Bryan and Slovakian Katarina Srebotnik and Australian Chris Guccione and Georgian partner Oksana Kalashnikova.

In the men’s draw, Roger Federer was at his imperious best yesterday, rattling past familiar foe Tommy Robredo 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 and into the Wimbledon quarter-finals for the 12th time in his career.

In a Court One masterclass, Federer demonstrated all the finesse and dazzling array of strokes that have earned him 17 Grand Slam titles, seven at the All England Tennis Club.

Clay-court specialist Robredo of Spain, who like Federer is 32 and has been on the professional tour since 1998, found better range and movement in the third set, but it was not enough — Federer’s serve was simply too potent and his net-play too sharp and accurate.

The Swiss master completed his 11th victory in 12 tour meetings over the Spaniard in an 94 minutes to set up a quarter-final date with compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka, who beat Robredo’s countryman, Felicano Lopez, 7-6(5), 7-6(7), 6-3 later yesterday.

French Open runner-up Simona Halep raced to a 6-3, 6-0 fourth-round win over Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas yesterday to become just the second Romanian woman to reach the quarter-finals at Wimbledon.

The world No. 3 has enjoyed a year of career-best results at consecutive grand slams and wasted little time in continuing that trend at the All England Tennis Club with a dominant victory on Court Two in just 57 minutes.

Halep became the first Romanian woman to reach a Grand Slam final in 34 years at Roland Garros last month, where she was beaten in three sets by Russia’s Maria Sharapova.

Yesterday’s victory ensured she followed in the footsteps of compatriot Virginia Ruzici, who lost at the quarter-final stage in 1978 and 1981, in reaching the last eight on the grass courts of southwest London.

The third seed is to meet Wimbledon finalist Sabine Lisicki in the next round, after the German 19th seed overcame Diyas’ countrywoman Yaroslava Shvedova in a fourth-round encounter.

Lisicki’s love-affair with grass continued to blossom as she reached the quarters for the fourth year running with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-4 win over Shvedova.

For 50 weeks of the year, the 24-year-old German seems to get lost in the crowd by producing one non-descript performance after another, but come Wimbledon fortnight and she runner-up morphs into a world beater and has now reached at least the quarter-finals in each of her last five appearances, having missed the 2010 tournament through injury.

The 19th seed raised a few alarms within her camp on day eight of the championships when she took a medical time out at 1-1 in the third set. Lying flat on her stomach on Court Three, her back and shoulder was massaged and she was brought back to life by the tournament trainer.

Although she got further treatment during the changeovers, she maintained her focus and wrapped up victory on her third match point when Shvedova netted a forehand.

Lisicki celebrated by shrieking and falling to her knees in delight.

A day earlier, Eugenie Bouchard succeeded where Serena Williams failed as she beat Alize Cornet to reach the last eight on a rain-hit Monday that produced another display of grass mastery by defending men’s champion Andy Murray.

Frenchwoman Cornet caused a sensation on Saturday by removing five-time champion and pre-tournament favorite Williams, but the fresh-faced Bouchard proved to be made of sterner stuff as she edged to a 7-6(5) 7-5 victory.

“That’s cool. I didn’t know that,” the 20-year-old said of becoming the first Canadian to reach a Wimbledon quarter-finals. “Another little historic thing for Canada.”

The match was halted after five games to allow the Centre Court roof to slide shut as more rain hit the championships after Saturday’s lengthy disruptions.

Murray began his fourth-round match against giant South African Kevin Anderson under cloudy skies, building up a commanding lead, but after more rain prompted another roof closure he was given his stiffest examination so far.

The third seed even came within a point of conceding his first set of what has been a stress-free tournament so far for the home favorite before sealing an impressive 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory to reach the quarters for a seventh consecutive year.

The 27-year-old is on a semi-finals collision course with top seed Novak Djokovic, who eased past Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(5), but must first negotiate his way past in-form Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who beat Argentine Leonardo Mayer.

“I knew I was going to get tested at some stage,” said Murray, who had arrived in the second week having dropped a mere 19 games.

Dimitrov will pose a threat to Murray’s 17-match winning streak at Wimbledon (including the 2012 Olympics), especially as he already beat the Scot this year.

Djokovic’s match against 14th seed Tsonga, a repeat of their 2011 semi-final, had been given top-billing, but the Serb was at his ruthless best in a scintillating display under the roof to set up a last-eight meeting with Croatia’s Marin Cilic.

The second Monday at the All England Club is traditionally last-16 day in both men’s and women’s singles, but several third-round matches had been held up by rain at the weekend.

Before meeting Wawrinka, Lopez also belatedly reached the last 16, beating the US’ John Isner in a four-set match that predictably included three tiebreaks and 86 aces.

Isner’s defeat left the US without a representative in the last 16 of the men’s or women’s singles for the first time since 1911 after teenager Madison Keys withdrew injured.

The bottom half of the women’s draw is completely dominated by Czech players.

Former champion Petra Kvitova moved stealthily on with an easy win against China’s Peng Shuai and will play compatriot Barbora Zahlavova Strycova, with 23rd seed Lucie Safarova playing Russia’s Ekaterina Makarova yesterday.