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Revival of Hsieh-Peng pairing may be over after it just began

2018/02/25 20:09:52

Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇, left) and China's Peng Shuai (彭帥)

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Just weeks after Taiwan's Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) and China's Peng Shuai (彭帥)reached the semifinals of the Australian Open in what appeared to be a fruitful renewal of their partnership, the former world No. 1 duo may be splitting up again.

The two engaged in a social media spat following their defeat in the finals of the women's doubles at Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Saturday, after a tournament in which observers felt they were generally cold to each other on court.

After the match, Peng wrote in a Weibo post of feeling "powerless, sad and depressed" and that she and Hsieh had "come into conflict, the cause of which is very perplexing."

Citing the reason for the dispute as a fitness coach, Peng said "I don't want to go through any more of this. It's very painful for me."

Hsieh and Peng won two Grand Slam doubles titles and reached the number one ranking when they teamed up in 2013 and 2014, but split up at the end of the year.

Among the reasons given at the time were Peng's desire to focus more on singles, and her dissatisfaction with Hsieh's lack of dedication to training.

After they teamed up briefly in 2016, it appeared that they were ready for a more extended comeback at the start of this year in Australia, when they reached the semifinals of the Australian Open.

But the problem with the trainer had already emerged, according to Peng.

In a subsequent post, she said Hsieh had prodded her to join with Hsieh in hiring a trainer named "Yoko" since last year, and that she agreed to it in Australia, with a schedule being set for the first half of 2018.

But Hsieh then "kicked (Yoko) out" at the start of the Australian Open and left her without a place to live, Peng wrote.

Apparently upset that Yoko was spending more time with Peng than her, Hsieh insisted after the Grand Slam event that Yoko follow her and not Peng, and threatened to break up their partnership if the trainer worked for both of them or Peng alone, according to the post.

Hsieh responded with a brief post on Weibo: "Thanks for stealing my only fitness trainer. Bye bye."

On her Facebook page, Hsieh sidestepped the spat, saying only that things with "plenty of question marks" popped up, and that "I don't feel any silly enmity or reason to be unhappy."

Hsieh wrote mostly of a wrist and back injury that had been bothering her, but said she decided to play in Dubai and in Doha the week before because of a promise to honor a pledge to her partner, without naming Peng.

She said her next event will be in singles at next week's Indian Wells challenger event.

What happens after that is anybody's guess, but Hsieh said she still hoped to achieve her goals for the year: getting back her feel for the game in doubles and becoming a better player in singles.

(By Luke Sabatier)
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