Hsieh Su-wei advanced to the second round of the Prague Open on Monday after rallying from a set down to oust crowd favorite Kristyna Pliskova, while fellow Taiwanese Chuang Chia-jung and Chan Chin-wei advanced to the quarter-finals of the doubles.
World No. 96 Pliskova, who lives in the Czech capital, started strongly and took the first set 6-4, but the Taiwanese world No. 78 defused her opponent’s powerful game and then it picked apart to complete a 4-6, 6-3, 6-1 victory in 1 hour, 34 minutes.
The Taiwanese No. 1 saved none of the three break points Pliskova created, but converted six of 13, winning 83 of the 148 points contested to set up a second-round clash with 18-year-old world No. 77 Ana Konjuh of Croatia, who stunned sixth seed Jelena Ostapenko 5-7, 6-2, 6-1.
Also advancing to the second round was Czech wild-card Katerina Siniakova, who upset former world No. 11 Alize Cornet of France 7-6 (7/5), 6-3.
“I was trying to play my best and it was really hard because she was fighting, running everywhere, so I’m so happy I could win,” Siniakova told the WTA Web site. “I just focused on every point and stuck to the tactics I agreed [with my coach] before the match.”
In the other first-round matches, Madison Brengle of the US defeated Britain’s Naomi Broady 6-2, 6-0 and Slovakian wild-card Jana Cepalova edged Margarita Gasparyan of Russia 7-6 (9/7), 7-5.
In the women’s doubles, third seeds Chuang and Darija Jurak survived a second-set wobble to oust Vera Dushevina of Russia and Lidziya Marozava of Belarus 6-1, 6-7 (6/8), 10-6 in 1 hour, 28 minutes.
The Taiwanese-Croatian duo saved six of nine break points and converted five of eight, winning 76 of the 135 points contested to advance to a quarter-final against Maria Irigoyen of Argentina and Paula Kania of Poland, who ousted Czech pairing Barbora Strycova and Renata Voracova 6-4, 7-6 (7/5).
Chan and Klaudia Jans-Ignacik knocked out Czech pairing Tereza Smitkova and Barbora Stefkova 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 in 1 hour, 16 minutes.
The Taiwanese-Polish duo saved four of nine break points and converted six of eight, winning 69 of the 133 points contested to advance to a quarter-final against either second seeds Gasparyan and Andrea Hlavackova of the Czech Republic or Czech pairing Barbora Krejcikova and Siniakova.
GRAND PRIX SAR
Second seed Ekaterina Makarova of Russia beat Alexandra Dulgheru 6-4, 6-2 in the first round of the Grand Prix SAR on Monday, while third seed Anna Karolina Schmiedlova of Slovakia was routed 6-0, 6-1 by former champion Kiki Bertens.
In another upset, Brazilian Teliana Pereira beat sixth seed Annika Beck 6-3, 6-1, breaking the German player’s serve seven times.
Fifth seed Timea Babos of Hungary labored to a 6-3, 6-7 (8/10), 6-1 win against Polona Hercog, while Sweden’s Johanna Larsson beat Donna Vekic of Croatia 6-2, 6-2 and next faces Pereira.
SEE VERDASCO ON PAGE 18
For Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin, there were no chances left: Either beat the world’s top-ranked men’s doubles badminton team from Indonesia for the first time or see their Olympic hopes dashed in the preliminary round. The world No. 3 Taiwanese duo answered the challenge, edging past Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo in their final Group A match 21-18, 15-21, 21-17 to qualify for the final eight knockout round. “We finally made it,” Lee wrote on Facebook after beating the Indonesian duo. However, he said that the competition still had a long way to go. “We’re happy not only because
TWO AND TWO: Lin Chen-hao of Taiwan finished seventh in the women’s U-48kg category, winning two bouts before losses the quarter-finals and a repechage match Naohisa Takato yesterday won Japan’s first gold medal at their home Olympics, beating Taiwan’s Yang Yung-wei in the men’s under-60kg judo final. Yang’s second-place finish is Taiwan’s first medal in Tokyo and the nation’s first-ever medal in an Olympics judo competition. Kosovo’s Distria Krasniqi beat Japan’s Funa Tonaki in the women’s under-48kg final less than an hour before Takato made sure that his team would not have a double heartbreak on the opening day of competition in its beloved homegrown martial art. Takato won his final three bouts in sudden-death golden score, but he took the final a bit anticlimactically after Yang committed
Four key men’s doubles pairings — dubbed by the Badminton World Federation (BWF) as “the group of death” — are to take over two courts side-by-side today just after midday in Tokyo, in matches that already have the badminton world abuzz. What is formally known as Group A pits pairings from Taiwan, Indonesia, India and Britain against one another — the former three ranked in the top 10. Taiwanese pairing Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin are set to challenge Satwiksairaj Rankireddy and Chirag Shetty of India, while world No. 1 duo Marcus Fernaldi Gideon and Kevin Sanjaya Sukamuljo of Indonesia are to
Taiwanese badminton player Tai Tzu-ying yesterday tried to coast through her second group match at the Olympic Games, but got a bit of a scare against a Vietnamese ranked 49th in the world before righting the ship and prevailing. World No. 1 Tai defeated Nguyen Thuy Linh 21-16, 21-11 in her second match in Group P, moving her one win away from a spot in the women’s singles quarter-finals. Playing somewhat nonchalantly at the start of the match, Tai could not shake off the consistent Vietnamese, making several unforced errors. Down 16-14 and in danger of letting the first game get away, Tai