Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Belgian partner Elise Mertens on Thursday cruised into the women’s doubles final at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California.
It took second seeds Hsieh and Mertens just 54 minutes to defeat Japanese third seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara 6-2, 6-0 in the semi-finals to advance to their second final as a duo.
Hsieh and Mertens denied the Japanese duo, winners of a WTA Tour-best five titles this year, a spot in their sixth final of the season as they broke serve five times and won the final nine games.
“We’re very happy about the performance. Just everything clicked today,” Mertens told the WTA Web site. “[Winning Indian Wells together] would mean a lot. It’s one of the biggest tournaments in the tennis world, so we’re just trying to enjoy the moment, and play with my partner and friend.”
In the final, they face unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Elena Rybakina of Kazakhstan, who defeated Lyudmyla Kichenok and Jelena Ostapenko 6-4, 6-3.
Hsieh is eyeing a third title in the California desert after winning in 2014 with Peng Shuai and in 2018 with Barbora Strycova.
In the men’s singles, Cameron Norrie routed 11th seed Diego Schwartzman 6-0, 6-2 to reach the semi-finals and extend the best season of his career.
Norrie needed just 73 minutes to dismantle Schwartzman, who finally held serve when opening the second set, drawing cheers from the small crowd at Indian Wells Tennis Garden.
“For my biggest match of my career to play like I did and execute like I did was the biggest thing that I’m most happy with,” Norrie said.
Norrie next faces a semi-final against 23rd seed Grigor Dimitrov, who beat eighth seed Hubert Hurkacz 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7/2).
Hurkacz dropped a set for the first time in the tournament, losing on a let cord. Dimitrov held up both hands in a gesture of apology.
Hurkacz trailed 5-2 in the third set before winning three straight games to tie at 5-5. He held at 6-6 to force the tiebreak, but he appeared exhausted at that point, committing unforced errors on the final three points to lose.
In the women’s singles, 12th seed Ons Jabeur advanced to the semi-finals with a 7-5, 6-3 win over Anett Kontaveit that will move the 27-year-old Tunisian into the world’s top 10 for the first time next week.
She is projected to be No. 8, but could rise as high as No. 5 by winning the tournament.
“Feels amazing,” Jabeur said. “We’ve been working hard for years. The end of last season I said I wanted to be in top 10. It means a lot, but we’re not going to stop here and go further hopefully.”
Jabeur won her WTA Tour-leading 48th match of the year.
“I’m proving more things and now that I’m a top-10 player, I need to be more solid,” she said.
Jabeur beat Kontaveit for the third time in four career meetings. Since losing in three sets to Jabeur in Cincinnati in August, Kontaveit had won 16 of 17 matches, including 14 in straight sets, while claiming two titles.
Angelique Kerber, the 2019 runner-up and highest remaining seed at No. 10, lost to 21st seed Paula Badosa 6-4, 7-5.
Badosa beat 15th seed Coco Gauff in three sets and No. 3 Barbora Krejcikova in straight sets on her way to playing Jabeur in the semi-finals.
The other semi-final pits Victoria Azarenka against Jelena Ostapenko.
Taiwanese table tennis ace Lin Yun-ju on Wednesday handily downed Sweden’s Jon Persson 4-0 to advance to the round-of-32 at the World Table Tennis Championships Finals in Houston, Texas. World No. 6 Lin, who had a bye to automatically advance to the second round, defeated the 35-year-old Swede 11-5, 11-7, 11-8, 11-7 at the George R. Brown Convention Center. Lin was yesterday to play South Korea’s Lim Jong-hoon. Compatriot and fellow Olympic veteran Chuang Chih-yuan crashed out after losing to Sweden’s Truls Moregard. Moregard, who is more than half Chuang’s age at 19, downed the 40-year-old world No. 25 4-3 in a
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