Top seeds Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova yesterday advanced to the second round of the women’s doubles at the French Open as the duo began their bid for a second Grand Slam trophy.
The Taiwanese-Czech pairing survived a scare in the second set when they fell 0-3 behind, but rallied to defeat Maria Sanchez of the US and Astra Sharma of Australia 6-1, 6-4 in 69 minutes on Court 3 at Roland Garros in Paris.
Taiwan’s Hsieh bounced back from the disappointment of a 6-1, 6-4 defeat to Polish 19-year-old Iga Swiatek in the second round of the singles on Wednesday, while Strycova had also been knocked out 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 by fellow Czech Barbora Krejcikova.
Hsieh, the world’s No. 1-ranked player in women’s doubles, and Strycova, ranked No. 2, won 57 percent of their receiving points and converted five of six break points to set up a second-round clash with Czech-Dutch duo Marie Bouzkova and Arantxa Rus, who defeated Ana Bogdan of Romania and Rebecca Peterson of Sweden 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on Wednesday.
The favorites are looking to add another Grand Slam triumph to the Wimbledon title they claimed on the grass courts in London last year.
Hsieh and Strycova are coming off the back of their fourth title of the season in Rome last week, following victories in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha before the COVID-19 suspension.
They now have a 22-1 win-loss record this season, the only blemish a 6-2, 6-1 defeat to Hungarian-French pairing Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic in the final of the Australian Open.
In women’s singles, former champion Jelena Ostapenko yesterday swept second seed Karolina Pliskova out of the tournament.
In a women’s tournament reeling from the injury-enforced withdrawal of Serena Williams, and the absence of world No. 1 and defending champion Ashleigh Barty, as well as US Open winner Naomi Osaka, Latvia’s Ostapenko pressed her case for a second Paris title after her shock 2017 breakthrough.
The world No. 43 fired 27 winners to just nine for Pliskova in a 6-4, 6-2 victory which gave her a third-round match against either Sloane Stephens, the 2017 US Open winner and runner-up in Paris in 2018, or Spain’s Paula Badosa.
Pliskova, 28, made the semi-finals in 2017, but has failed to move beyond the third round in her eight other appearances at the French Open.
“I tried to be aggressive, but not miss too much as she’s such a great player,” said 23-year-old Ostapenko, who had lost in the first round in her past two visits to the French Open.
The defeat completed a miserable year at the Slams for Czech star Pliskova, who only made the third round at the Australian Open and second at the US Open.
Ostapenko was joined in the last 32 by two-time Wimbledon winner Petra Kvitova, whose best Roland Garros run was the semi-finals in 2012.
The seventh seed defeated Italy’s 94th-ranked Jasmine Paolini 6-3, 6-3 to register her 25th French Open win.
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