Hsieh wins Taiwanese face-off

NEXT UP::Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova are due to take on Vania King and Katarina Srebotnik in the quarter-finals early this morning Taiwan time

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, INDIAN WELLS, California

Wed, Mar 14, 2018 - Page 16

Hsieh Su-wei on Monday emerged the victor of a Taiwanese showdown in the second round of the women’s doubles at the BNP Paribas Open, while Serena Williams’ return to the WTA Tour came to an abrupt end as she crashed out of the singles after a 6-3, 6-4 loss to her sister, Venus, in Indian Wells, California.

Unseeded Hsieh and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic survived a fightback by second-seeded Taiwanese sisters Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching to clinch a 6-4, 5-7, 10-6 upset victory in 1 hour, 33 minutes.

Hsieh and Strycova saved three of seven break points and converted four of nine, taking advantage of the Chan sisters’ four double faults to win 75 of the 141 points contested and advance to the quarter-finals.

“It’s a very good win for us, to beat such a team,” Strycova told the WTA Web site. “We knew coming in that it would be a tough one, they’re doubles players, so they know what’s going on in the court. We just played the best we could and in the important moment we made the right choices.”

The Taiwanese-Czech duo are due to take on Vania King of the US and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia in the quarter-finals early this morning Taiwan time.

In the women’s singles, Venus closed out the 29th career meeting between the Williams sisters on her second match point as Serena sailed a forehand long to end the third-round showdown.

It was the first meeting between the sisters since they clashed in the final of last year’s Australian Open, which Serena won before taking a 15-month hiatus due to pregnancy.

Serena said she is still easing her way back into match fitness.

“It wasn’t very easy, obviously,” she said. “It was good to play and try to get in the rhythm, and get into the swing again. I can’t really replicate the situation no matter how much I do in practice. I make those shots 10 times out of 10 in practice. It’s just the nerves, the anticipation you feel naturally. It’s a little bit of everything that comes in a match that just doesn’t normally happen.”

Tenth seed Venus moves on to the round-of-16 where she was due to face Anastasija Sevastova, who defeated 12th seed Julia Georges 6-3, 6-3.

It is rare for the Williams sisters to play this early in a tournament and it was the earliest they have faced each other since their first encounter at the Australian Open in 1998.

Venus blasted six aces, but had eight double faults in the 1 hour, 26 minute match in front of a crowd of about 13,000.

“I just have a long way to go,” Serena said. “I have a lot to improve on.”

Despite the loss, Serena still leads their career series 17-12.