Chan ousts fellow Taiwanese Hsieh

REDEMPTION::One year after a petulant meltdown in Shanghai against the same opponent, Nick Kyrgios beat Mischa Zverev and demonstrated his personal progress

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, BEIJING

Thu, Oct 05, 2017 - Page 16

Chan Yung-jan yesterday knocked out fellow Taiwanese Hsieh Su-wei in the second round of the doubles at the China Open, while younger sister Chan Hao-ching was also ousted in Beijing.

Top seeds Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis, bidding to claim their ninth title of the season, had to rally from a set down before defeating Hsieh and Monica Niculescu of Romania 3-6, 6-4, 12-10 in 1 hour, 25 minutes on Moon Court at the National Tennis Center in the Chinese capital.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo, ranked the No. 2 and No. 1 doubles players in the world by the WTA, saved two of six break points and converted all three they created to advance to a quarter-final against Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan of China, who defeated Lyudmyla Kichenok of Ukraine and Raluca Olaru of Romania 7-5, 7-5.

The top seeds are bidding for their second straight doubles title in China after winning the Wuhan Open on Saturday.

It was not such as good day for younger sister Chan Hao-ching, as the Taiwanese and Alize Cornet of France lost another thriller, a 4-6, 6-4, 10-7 defeat by Czech fifth seeds Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova in 1 hour, 32 minutes.

In the quarter-finals, the Czech duo face third seeds Sania Mirza of India and Peng Shuai of China.

In the women’s singles, Maria Sharapova opened up on the despair she feels in defeat after she was ruthlessly knocked out in the third round by Romania’s Simona Halep.

The world No. 2 was an emphatic 6-2, 6-2 winner in 72 minutes to leave five-time Grand Slam champion Sharapova still searching for her first title since returning from a doping ban in April.

Russian Sharapova, a former No. 1 now languishing at 104 in the world rankings following her 15-month suspension for taking meldonium, gave an insight into the roller-coaster of emotions in top-level tennis.

“Hard work is not good enough any more, maybe it was — I don’t know how many years ago — but that’s just not a factor any more,” the 30-year-old said when asked about comments in a book she recently released. “The reason I say that is there’s some incredible moments, very high moments, and there are very low moments.”

“There have been times where I get off the court and you think, I don’t wish this on my future child. The feeling is so tough and disappointing,” she said. “You work so much, you dedicate so much of your time, you have so many people around you, and sometimes it doesn’t work according to plan, so you start asking questions, but then once you work, you keep going, keep fighting through it, the rewards are very incredible and special.”

“They have nothing to do with finance, they have nothing to do with trophies, it’s really internal,” she added.

Halep, the second seed on Beijing’s outdoor hard courts, is the first woman into the China Open quarter-finals.

Having turfed out Sharapova and with world No. 1 Garbine Muguruza exiting in the first round with a virus, the 26-year-old Halep is now favorite in the Chinese capital.

In men’s singles, Nick Kyrgios said he wanted to make up for his notorious meltdown in Shanghai last year as he beat Mischa Zverev in the second round in Beijing.

A year ago, the supremely talented, but combustible Kyrgios was suspended for his petulant behavior at the Shanghai Rolex Masters, where he swore and argued with the crowd and appeared to give away points in caving in to the German.

The enigmatic Australian, seeded eighth in the Chinese capital, smashed his racket on the floor in anger, bending the head in half, when he conceded the opening set yesterday.

That earned the world No. 19 a warning from the umpire and raised the specter of one year ago.

However, the 22-year-old returned for the second set with renewed determination and errors began creeping into Zverev’s game.

Zverev, ranked No. 27 in the world and the older brother of rising star Alexander, surrendered his first service game of the second set and Kyrgios was never in trouble after that, surging into the quarter-finals 3-6, 6-2, 6-2.

Kyrgios said facing Zverev a year after Shanghai, and again in China, was the perfect opportunity to show how far he has come.

“I just wanted to go out there today and kind of redeem myself a little bit from last year,” he said. “I just wanted to prove to myself how much I have improved.”

During one changeover, the Australian appeared so relaxed that he sat back on his chair, arms behind his head, and sang along with a pop hit being played over the stadium loudspeakers.

“Nothing really, just chilling out,” Kyrgios said afterward, when asked about his behavior.

He is next to play Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis in the last eight.