Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung and Liang Chen of China upset the second seeds in the first round of the women’s doubles at the Citi Open in Washington on Tuesday.
The cross-strait duo rallied from 4-1 down in the second set to oust Australian sisters Anastasia and Arina Rodionova 6-4, 7-5 and advance to the quarter-finals.
Chuang and Liang saved three of four break points and converted three of nine, winning 73 of the 138 points contested to stun the second seeds in 1 hour, 26 minutes.
Photo: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY
They next face Belgian duo An-Sophie Mestach and Alison van Uytvanck or Irina Falconi of the US and Monica Niculescu of Romania, who were due to play their first-round match yesterday.
Taiwan’s Hsu Chieh-yu and Hiroko Kuwata of Japan were also due on court yesterday to take on US duo Sanaz Marand and Taylor Townsend in their first-round clash.
In the men’s singles, reigning US Open champion Marin Cilic and runner-up Kei Nishikori advanced to the third round in hard-fought matches that finished early yesterday morning.
Japanese world No. 5 Nishikori rallied to beat Australia’s James Duckworth 6-7 (8/10), 6-1, 6-4, while Croatian world No. 8 Cilic defeated South Korean teenager Chung Hyeon 7-6 (7/2), 6-3 in their first hard-court appearances on the road to this year’s US Open.
“It wasn’t easy to put him away,” Cilic said. “He’s a great counterpuncher.”
Cilic, the first reigning US Open champion to play in the US capital since Andre Agassi in 2000, and second seed Nishikori each had first-round byes and saw their matches pushed into the early hours of the morning by a rain delay.
“It gives me more confidence,” Cilic said of his Grand Slam title. “I’m sure it’s going to give me more faith in my game. In this moment, I’m very happy with my game.”
Next in Nishikori’s path is the winner of yesterday’s match between Argentina’s Leonardo Mayer and Slovenia’s Blaz Rola.
“From the second set I started playing better, less unforced errors, more aggressive,” Nishikori said. “I was happy with how I played after the first set.”
In his first match since a Wimbledon quarter-final loss to eventual champion Novak Djokovic, Cilic surrendered a break in the seventh game, but broke back in the eighth.
In the tiebreaker, Cilic jumped ahead 6-1, double-faulted, then blasted a service winner to win the set after 53 minutes, taking all 18 of his first-serve points in the set.
“The important part was to get the ball back and put the first serve away,” Cilic said.
Third seed Cilic opened the second set with a break and broke again for a 4-1 edge, before Chung broke back and held to restore some pressure.
Chung had two break points on Cilic in the eighth game, but the veteran saved them on a net-cord winner and his ninth ace and held, then broke to claim the victory.
Cilic booked a third-round meeting with Sam Querrey of the US, who fired 26 aces to oust Japan’s Go Soeda 6-3, 5-7, 6-4.
Nishikori, tested by a 23-year-old rival ranked 90 spots below him in his hard-court opener, is seeking his third title of the year after Memphis and Barcelona and his 10th career crown.
“It was my first match on hard court,” Nishikori said. “It had been a long time since I played on hard court. This should be OK for the next match.”
Duckworth grabbed a 6-4 tiebreaker lead after Nishikori sent a backhand wide. Nishikori saved two set points before the Aussie followed with his eighth ace, but he then hit a backhand long to fall level at 7-7.
Nishikori’s third ace brought his first set point, but Duckworth rescued that with a service winner wide, then hit another and finally took the set on his fourth chance when Nishikori sent a backhand volley beyond the baseline.
In the second set, it took Nishikori five break points, but he finally bested Duckworth for a 2-0 lead and he rolled from there. He broke Duckworth for a 2-1 edge in the third set and held serve to the end.
In women’s first-round matches, Russian top seed Ekaterina Makarova downed Van Uytvanck 7-5, 7-5 and Australian second seed Samantha Stosur, the 2011 US Open champion, defeated France’s Kristina Mladenovic 6-2, 6-2 for her 500th career WTA Tour victory.
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