Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles.
Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome.
The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first returns as their bid for a fourth title of the year remained on track.
The favorites were next due to face sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova, after the Russian-Czech duo routed Italian wild-cards Giulia Gatto-Monticone and Jasmine Paolini 6-1, 6-0 in 47 minutes.
In the women’s singles, Azarenka produced a masterclass on Centre Court to knock out third seed Sofia Kenin 6-0, 6-0 in the second round.
Azarenka, who beat Venus Williams in a two-hour first-round match on Wednesday, needed only an hour to dispatch the Australian Open champion.
American Kenin, who received a bye into the second round, had no answers to Azarenka’s consistency from the baseline and made a string of errors, finishing the match with 22 unforced errors, while Azarenka made only four.
Kenin did not create a single opportunity to break the 31-year-old Belarusian, while Azarenka won an overwhelming 89 percent of her first serves, while converting six of 11 break points.
“I think consistency was key to the scoreline, I feel like I played really smart tennis today,” Azarenka said. “I was able to use a lot of the court and different pace. I went for bigger serves when I needed it, I went for variety. I wasn’t feeling very good in the warm-up today, but it worked out in the match.”
Earlier, former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced with a 7-6 (7/3), 3-6, 6-3 victory.
Gauff went toe-to-toe with the two-time Grand Slam champion before capitulating in the third set.
“I don’t look at her as a different player,” Muguruza said. “It doesn’t matter how old she is. She’s a great competitor and she can play very well.”
The Taichung Warriors yesterday collapsed in the final at the 15th Taiwan Annual Cricket Cup in Chiayi City, but Chetan Sharma’s 50 scripted a near-unbelievable resurgence to snatch the trophy from the Taiwan Stars. Sharma’s 4-24 restricted the Stars to 130-6, but the reply was a disaster as the Warriors fell to 25-7 after six overs. However, Sharma undid all the work of opening bowlers Amir Sohail and Abrar Hussain (both 3-14) to guide them to a two-wicket win. The result reversed their group-stage encounter at the eight-team, two-day competition at the Yunsan baseball fields. In the semi-finals, Sohail took 4-21 as the Stars
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