Chan sisters split, Vinci bids farewell in first round

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AP, ROME

Wed, May 16, 2018 - Page 16

It was a mixed Monday for Taiwan’s Chan sisters at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia, while there were tears as Italian Roberta Vinci retired after a first-round loss in front of her home fans.

Younger sister Chan Hao-ching and Yang Zhaoxuan advanced to the second round of the women’s doubles with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Japanese duo Shuko Aoyama and Miyu Kato in 1 hour, 14 minutes at the Foro Italico.

The Taiwanese-Chinese duo saved five of eight break points and converted five of nine, winning 62 of the 115 points contested to advance to a tough second-round clash against Czech second seeds Andrea Sestini Hlavackova and Barbora Strycova.

Elder sister Latisha Chan, the world No. 1 defending the title she won last season with Martina Hingis, fell to a shock defeat.

Fifth seeds Latisha Chan and Bethanie Mattek-Sands of the US fell to a 7-5, 7-6 (7/3) defeat to Svetlana Kuznetsova of Russia and Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic in 1 hour, 41 minutes.

In the singles, Vinci said she did not want to be remembered solely for beating Serena Williams in the 2015 US Open semi-finals, preventing the American from completing a calendar-year Grand Slam.

Vinci was also ranked world No. 1 in doubles, completed a career Grand Slam with partner Sara Errani and helped Italy win four Fed Cups.

“It’s not only Serena,” Vinci said. “I would appreciate it if I were remembered for a bit more of my entire career.”

Yet the 35-year-old acknowledged that she still looks back at that match against Williams and wonders how she managed it.

“Ooh, a lot, a lot of times. A lot, a lot. Yes, yes,” Vinci said with a laugh. “It was an incredible victory. The best victory of course of my life and probably also the [fans] can remember me with Serena, the crowd and everything. It was an incredible day.”

Then in an all-Italian US Open final, Vinci lost to Flavia Pennetta.

Like after she lost to Pennetta, Vinci was smiling after losing to Serbian qualifier Aleksandra Krunic 2-6, 6-0, 6-3 at the Foro Italico.

“I tried to say: ‘OK, probably this is the last day, so try to enjoy it and try to smile,”’ Vinci said. “I was happy about the crowd, and my parents, my team and all my friends were there. I lost, I know, but I was happy — and this is what I wanted.”

Vinci wiped away tears as a video of her career highlights was shown on the big screen inside Pietrangeli Court, surrounded by neo-classical statues.

“I’m crying now, but I’m happy, I’m happy for what I’ve accomplished,” Vinci told the crowd in an on-court ceremony. “I would have liked to do better, but it doesn’t matter that I lost.”

Krunic, who improved to 4-0 in her career against Vinci, embraced the Italian for a long while at the net then held up her hands in an apologetic manner to the crowd and said: “I’m sorry.”

As usual, Vinci relied on her unique style featuring a one-handed backhand slice, looping ground-strokes and tactical forays to the net.

“I had a difficult and different style of tennis. It’s old style, but sometimes it’s tough when you have to stay in good form, you have to run a lot and you have to think about every single shot, but now I can relax, and I don’t think about the slice and drop-shots and everything,” Vinci said. “Next is ice cream, coffee, shopping — no rackets, no tennis.”