Chan and Hingis through to semis at China Open

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, BEIJING

Sat, Oct 07, 2017 - Page 16

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Martina Hingis of Switzerland yesterday kept their bid for back-to-back doubles titles in China on track by advancing to the semi-finals at the China Open, while Rafael Nadal survived a tennis ball hair mishap in the quarter-finals of the men’s singles.

Top seeds Chan and Hingis took 59 minutes to see off the challenge of Gabriela Dabrowski of Canada and Xu Yifan of China 6-3, 6-2 at the National Tennis Center in Beijing.

The Taiwanese-Swiss duo face a repeat of their semi-final at the Wuhan Open last week today when they take on third seeds Sania Mirza and Peng Shuai, after the Indian-Chinese duo rallied from a set down to defeat Czech fifth seeds Katerina Siniakova and Barbora Strycova 4-6, 6-2, 10-7 in 1 hour, 20 minutes.

In the men’s singles, Nadal got some fiber from a tennis ball lodged in his eye, but that did not stop the world No. 1 setting up a semi-final with “great guy” Grigor Dimitrov.

The Spaniard tamed big-serving American John Isner 6-4, 7-6 (7/0) to set up the clash with the third-seeded Bulgarian.

Dimitrov booked his place in the last four on Beijing’s outside hard courts with a 7-6 (7/5), 4-6, 6-2 victory over another Spaniard, Roberto Bautista Agut.

Nadal, 31, the 16-time Grand Slam champion, revved up a gear to surge through the tiebreak in the second set, although there was concern at one point during the second set when he appeared to be suffering an eye problem.

“Just something came to my eye, that’s all,” said Nadal, who is chasing a sixth title this year. “I think it was just a hair or something, a hair from the tennis ball. It was bothering me for a while.”

“Not important, [but] I am still feeling [it] a little bit by the way,” said Nadal, who attempted to wash the suspected fiber out with water.

Nadal will face a familiar figure in Dimitrov — the pair practiced together at Nadal’s base in Mallorca before the US Open, where the Spaniard won the title for a third time this year.

Also through to the semi-finals was Australian Nick Kyrgios, who was up 6-0 and 3-0 when Belgian qualifier Steve Darcis retired.

Kyrgios faces second seed Alexander Zverev of Germany.

In the women’s singles, Simona Halep took a step nearer overhauling Garbine Muguruza as world No. 1 when the Romanian raced into the semi-finals.

World No. 2 Halep eased past Russia’s unseeded Daria Kasatkina 6-2, 6-1 in 69 minutes and next faces Latvia’s Jelena Ostapenko.

Petra Kvitova became the third woman into the semi-finals when she defeated fellow Czech Barbora Strycova.