The Chan sisters kept their bid for back-to-back doubles titles on track in the Japanese capital yesterday, despite having to survive a second-set meltdown at the Toray Pan Pacific Open.
Taiwan’s Chan Hao-ching and Chan Yung-jan cruised to a 6-1, 4-0 lead in their first-round match against Anna-Lena Groenefeld and CoCo Vandeweghe, but then lost six straight matches as their German-American opponents forced a super tiebreak.
However, the Taiwanese second seeds battled to a 10-7 victory in the decider at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo, where they won the Japan Open doubles final on Saturday, their third WTA Tour title of the season.
The Taiwanese duo saved two of five break points and converted five of 11, winning 67 of the 117 points contested to wrap up the victory in 1 hour, 15 minutes.
Chan Hao-ching, who moved up three places to 21st in the WTA Tour doubles rankings this week, and Chan Yung-jan, who climbed one place to 10th, face either Daria Gavrilova of Russia and Elina Svitolina of Ukraine or Olga Savchuk of Ukraine and Xu Yifan of China in the quarter-finals.
In the singles, Carla Suarez Navarro ended her eight-match dry spell with a hard-earned 7-6 (7/3), 6-2 victory on Tuesday against Kateryna Bondarenko.
It was the first victory for the 10th-ranked Spaniard since June and she suffered a first-round, straight-sets defeat against the 83rd-ranked Bondarenko a week ago at the Japan Open.
Suarez Navarro said that defeat gave her the insights to gain victory yesterday against the Ukrainian.
“It’s true that I lost [a week ago], but I had much in my mind how to play against her,” Suarez Navarro said. “Today, I just tried to play and be relaxed. I tried to play my game.”
Suarez Navarro said she had “lost confidence” as she kept losing match after match, with the negative feeling leading to psychological fatigue and more losses.
Now she hopes to regain her form as the current season draws toward its close, with only a handful of Asian tournaments to go.
“I feel happy because I can change the situation. With the next match, I have one more opportunity to try to play my game, and try to play like the beginning of the season,” the Spaniard said.
In other matches, German fifth-seed Angelique Kerber crushed Daria Gavrilova of Russia 6-2, 6-2.
It was Kerber’s first appearance since her nail-biting US Open third-round showdown against Victoria Azarenka, when she lost, but won much praise for her performance.
“I just try to take the confidence from the US Open to the next tournament here, for the Asia trip and for the next year,” she said.
The US Open match, Kerber said, showed that she can play “two or three hours on the high level.”
A Grand Slam victory appeared “so far away,” but “I will try to keep working for that. You never what happens,” she said.
In other action, eighth-seed Belinda Bencic beat China’s Xi Yi-Fan 6-0, 6-0, while Samantha Stosur of Australia beat Alison Riske of the US 4-6, 6-1, 6-3.
Romanian top seed Irina-Camelia Begu scored a comfortable victory over Ukrainian qualifier Kateryna Kozlova in the first round of the WTA Korea Open yesterday.
Begu, ranked 29th in the world, beat Kozlova in straight sets 6-2, 6-4 to set up a second-round meeting with Polona Hercog of Slovenia.
US third seed Sloane Stephens, ranked 32nd in the world, had little trouble against South Korean wildcard Han Na-lae 6-1, 6-1.
Two other Americans also advanced to the second round, with fourth seed Varvara Lepchenko pushing aside Spain’s Paula Badosa 6-2, 6-3. Christina McHale led the first set 6-4, but was down 1-2 in the second when Yaroslava Shvedova of Kazakhstan abandoned the match.
Elizaveta Kulichkova of Russia needed three sets against Heather Watson of England to book her place in the second round 6-4, 3-6, 6-3.
Katerina Siniakova of the Czech Republic edged Irina Falconi of the US 6-3, 2-6, 6-0, while Swedish veteran Johanna Larsson defeated Nicole Melichar of the US 6-4, 6-2.
Aliaksandra Sasnovich of Belarus knocked out sixth-seeded Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania 6-3, 6-2.
The 136th-ranked Sasnovich took one hour, nine minutes to dispose of the 54th-ranked Dulgheru, who struggled with her serves early on with five double-faults in the first set.
Additional reporting by AP
Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei crashed out of the first round at the Guangzhou Open yesterday, falling to a 6-1, 6-3 defeat to Anett Kontaveit of Estonia.
Hsieh served up 12 double faults, conceded five break points and converted just one as the world No. 98 wrapped up the victory in just 50 minutes.
In yesterday’s other first-round matches, Puerto Rico’s Monica Puig upset second seed Andrea Petkovic of Germany.
The unseeded Puig defeated Petkovic 6-1, 6-4 in the biggest upset of the day.
Additional reporting by staff writer
The all-English Champions League final might be played in England after Turkey was added to its “red list” of countries where all but essential travel is banned due to COVID-19 outbreaks. Chelsea and Manchester City are due to meet on May 29 in Istanbul and UEFA was hoping to allow about 10,000 fans into the biggest club game of the European soccer season. However, the British government on Friday warned supporters not to travel to Turkey after imposing the new travel restrictions and said that the English Football Association was in talks with Champions League organizer UEFA about staging the game in
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga yesterday said that he has never “put the Olympics first,” the same day an opinion poll showed that nearly 60 percent of people in Japan want the Olympics canceled less than three months before they begin. Japan has extended a state of emergency in Tokyo until the end of the month and is struggling to contain a surge in COVID-19 cases, raising further questions about whether the Games should go on. Its vaccination rate is the lowest among wealthy nations. International Olympic officials, Tokyo planners and Suga have insisted that the Games would go on in “a
Seattle Seahawks wide receiver D.K. Metcalf, who has earned a reputation as one of the NFL’s fastest players, plans to test his speed against some of the US’ top sprinters on Sunday with a possible eye on the US Olympic trials. Metcalf is to run in the 100m at the USA Track & Field (USATF) Golden Games and Distance Open in Walnut, California. The Pro Bowler’s name appeared on the official entry list for the meet on Monday afternoon, when he appeared to confirm his participation with an enigmatic Twitter post. Others who have entered the race include 2016 Olympian Mike Rodgers
Jose Mourinho and AS Roma seem like a good fit, after the Portuguese was surprisingly named as the club’s new coach on Tuesday, but it is unlikely to be an easy return to management for a man with a point to prove. “No break, I am always in football” was the short, sharp response Mourinho gave reporters after his sacking by underperforming English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur 15 days ago. However, few expected him to be back quite so soon. Several Italian newspapers on Tuesday carried stories on former Juventus manager Maurizio Sarri being lined up to replace the under pressure Paulo