Hsieh Su-wei and Oksana Kalashnikova fell to big guns Martina Hingis and Sania Mirza in the second round of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome on Wednesday, while Roger Federer put in an encouraging performance in the second round of the men’s singles considering he only decided to play moments before stepping onto the court.
The Taiwanese-Georgian duo battled for 61 minutes against the Swiss-Indian pairing, but fell to a 6-3, 6-3 defeat at the Foro Italico in the Italian capital.
The top seeds saved two of the four break points they faced and converted five of 11, winning 59 of the 103 points contested to advance to the quarter-finals.
Hsieh’s defeat meant that Chan Yung-jan was the sole surviving Taiwanese in Rome. Chan and Anna-Lena Groenefeld of Germany, the sixth seeds, were due to take on Romanian duo Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu in the second round of the doubles late yesterday.
In the men’s singles, Federer put his full array of shots on display in a 6-3, 7-5 win over Alexander Zverev.
“I was expecting to lose in straight sets today. That was the mindset going in, so to win in straights is actually a really big surprise to me,” said Federer, who has been having problems with his back. “I played cautious and I only decided after the warmup that I was actually going to play.”
World No. 1 Novak Djokovic, Andy Murray and seven-time Rome champion Rafael Nadal also advanced in straight sets on the red clay courts at the Foro Italico.
In the women’s singles, Australian Open champion Angelique Kerber, fourth seed Victoria Azarenka and Mutua Madrid Open winner Simona Halep each lost.
After withdrawing from Madrid with lower-back pain, Federer looked sharp from the start against world No. 44 Zverev, using his backhand-slice drop-shot especially well.
The 19-year-old Zverev, considered a potential future Grand Slam champion, often found himself running down shots wide in the alleys. At one point, the 1.98m German was pulled so far off the court he ended up in the lap of a line judge — then hugged the official after Federer put away an easy volley.
On the first point of the final game, Federer surprised Zverev by following his second serve to the net and Zverev lost his footing as he attempted to chase down Federer’s volley. Zverev fell to the clay, dirtying his shorts and shirt, and had to go over to his chair to dust himself off.
Federer was next due to meet 13th seed Dominic Thiem, who beat Joao Sousa of Portugal 6-3, 6-2, but he could not immediately confirm that he would play.
Djokovic beat 35-year-old French qualifier Stephane Robert 7-5, 7-5 as he seeks a third straight title in Rome and fourth overall.
Murray never dropped his serve, hitting seven aces, as he eliminated Kazakh qualifier Mikhail Kukushkin 6-3, 6-3.
Nadal defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber 6-3, 6-3 and was next due to meet rising Australian Nick Kyrgios, who beat big-serving Milos Raonic 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 on the statue-lined Pietrangeli Court.
Eugenie Bouchard, the 2014 Wimbledon runner-up, beat second seed Kerber 6-1, 5-7, 7-5; Romanian Begu, ranked 35th, defeated Azarenka 6-3, 6-2; and last year’s semi-finalist Daria Gavrilova eliminated Halep 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 in a match that was temporarily interrupted by rain.
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
After complaining about flying economy class to the Olympic Games, Taiwanese badminton player Tai Tzu-ying appeared satisfied with her hotel room in Tokyo, praising its proximity to the badminton venue. “It saves commuting time and allows more time to rest,” the 27-year-old Tai wrote on Instagram yesterday morning. “It’s very good.” The Athletes’ Village is about 50 minutes by car from the badminton venue, but the hotel is only a 10-minute drive, she said. “It’ll give me more time to rest and prepare, whether before or after a match,” Tai added. Taiwan’s badminton team is staying at the Marroad Inn Tokyo in Chofu City,
KEEP ’EM COMING: In her first Olympic appearance, Lo set a high bar, fighting her way to the final bouts, and earning Taiwan its second medal after Yang Yung-wei’s silver Taiwan’s Lo Chia-ling yesterday clinched the nation’s second medal at the Tokyo Olympics, grabbing a bronze medal in taekwondo in the women’s 57kg class. Nineteen-year-old Lo beat Nigeria’s Tekiath Ben Yessouf 10-6 at Tokyo’s Makuhari Messe convention center. Lo, who is making her first appearance in the Olympic Games, worked her way to the bronze medal contest with an early 20-18 win against South Korea’s Lee Ah-reum in the round of 16, before dropping Canada’s Skylar Park 18-7 in the quarter-final. It was Anastasija Zolotic of the US who denied the former World Taekwondo Junior Championship gold medalist a chance to fight for