Hsieh Su-wei yesterday advanced to the second round of the women’s singles at the Sydney International, while fellow Taiwanese Chan Hao-ching and Latisha Chan had to battle through to the women’s doubles quarter-finals at the Hobart International.
Hsieh defeated world No. 35 Danielle Collins 7-6 (7/4), 6-3 in 1 hour 40 minutes at the Sydney Olympic Park Tennis Centre.
The Taiwanese world No. 28 saved four of six break points and converted three of nine, winning 80 of the 151 points contested to improve her career record over the American to 2-0 following a 6-4, 6-3 victory in their only previous meeting in New Haven, Connecticut, in 2014.
The Kaohsiung-born 33-year-old faces a tougher assignment in the second round against fifth seed Petra Kvitova after the two-time Wimbledon champion overcame Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus 6-1, 7-5.
“She came from Shenzhen and won the tournament, so I knew it would be a tough match,” Kvitova said after the match. “I’m happy with my performance in the first round. She’s a big server and a big hitter from the baseline, and I’m really happy I was able to win it.”
Hsieh has a 0-2 career record against the Czech world No. 8 after defeats in Luxembourg and at the French Open in 2016.
Defending champion Angelique Kerber was made to work hard against Italy’s Camila Giorgi in the opening set of their second-round match, but took control in the second set to ease through 7-6 (7/3), 6-2.
“It’s always tough to play Camila, the way she is hitting the ball. Her second serve is like her first serve,” said world No. 2 Kerber, who had a first-round bye and is now into the third round.
“It’s never easy to play your first tournament match, but I am happy to be through. Hopefully I can go back-to-back, but there’s still a long way to go,” she said.
World No. 5 Sloane Stephens of the US battled back from the brink of a defeat to beat 72nd-ranked qualifier Ekaterina Alexandrova in their first-round clash.
Less than a week before the Australian Open — the season’s first Grand Slam — she was on the ropes with Alexandrova winning the first set to love and serving for the match in the second set.
However, Stephens somehow rallied to win 0-6, 7-6 (7/3), 7-6 (7/3).
“I was, like, it’s not going to get any worse than this,” Stephens said of the first set. “So it was, like, I might as well just play.”
“Obviously she was playing well,” she added. “Sometimes when you play a player that’s just playing like that, there is not much you can do.”
French Open winner Jelena Ostapenko’s poor form continued in a 6-3, 6-3 defeat to Australia’s Ash Barty, who is rewarded with a second-round clash against world No. 1 Simona Halep.
After picking up a thigh injury at the Hopman Cup, Garbine Muguruza — another major winner — safely negotiated her first-round encounter with fellow Spaniard Carla Suarez Navarro 6-3, 6-4.
She later pulled out of the tournament, citing an unspecified illness, giving her next opponent Kiki Bertens a walkover into the third round.
Last year, Muguruza was the top seed and world No. 2, but 12 months on she is unseeded and down to No. 18.
In the men’s draw, Australian teenager Alex De Minaur, a finalist last year, continued his preparations for the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-3 win over Dusan Lajovic.
The US’ Sam Querrey and Reilly Opelka are also through to the next round.
In Hobart, the Taiwanese top seeds, who lost the Brisbane International doubles final to Nicole Melichar and Kveta Peschke on Saturday, had to battle to a 6-4, 7-5 victory over Australian duo Monique Adamczak and Jessica Moore in 1 hour, 24 minutes.
The Chan sisters, who are favorites to claim their first title of the year ahead of next week’s Australian Open, won 72 percent of their points on first serve, saving one of four break points and converting five of nine to advance to a quarter-final against Dalila Jakupovic of Slovenia and Sabrina Santamaria of the US.
IAdditional reporting by AFP
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