Women's doubles teams struggle in Australia; only one duo survives

02/11/2021 03:56 PM
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Hsieh Su-wei (right) and Barbora Strycova. File photo from twitter.com/BrisbaneTennis
Hsieh Su-wei (right) and Barbora Strycova. File photo from twitter.com/BrisbaneTennis

Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) Taiwan's top women's doubles players had trouble closing out their unseeded opponents in their first round matches at the Australian Open, and only one of them made it through to the tournament's round of 32.

Veteran Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic, seeded first in Melbourne, seemed on their way to a comfortable straight sets victory over Astra Sharma and Destanee Aiava of Australia after taking a 6-4, 5-3 lead.

With Hsieh serving for the match, however, the Australians turned on the pressure and clinched the break on their third game point, and then ran off the next three games of the second set to even the match.

The Australians seemed in command when they broke Strycova's serve to take a 3-2 lead in the final stanza, but the top seeds rallied to win four of the next five games and close out the match 6-4, 5-7, 6-4 in just over two hours.

Hsieh and Strycova will next face Darija Jurak of Croatia and Nina Stojanovic of Serbia.

The veteran duo topped Jurak and Stojanovic in the third round of last year's Australian Open on their way to the final, where they were overpowered by Timea Babos of Hungary and Kristina Mladenovic of France 6-2, 6-1.

The 35-year-old Taiwanese veteran's immediate focus, however, will be her third round singles match, likely to be scheduled for Friday, against 33-year-old Italian Sara Errani.

The Italian, who needed to get through qualifiers to reach the main singles draw, stormed past a hobbled Venus Williams 6-1, 6-0 in a second round match to set up the encounter against Hsieh.

Serrani has defeated Hsieh easily in their previous three meetings in 2008, 2014 and 2017, ceding a total of six games in those three matches.

Hsieh has reached the fourth round in the singles at the Australian twice previously, in 2008 and 2018.

Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching on the court. CNA file photo
Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching on the court. CNA file photo

Taiwan's other players in the women's doubles draw, Latisha Chan (詹詠然) and Chan Hao-ching (詹皓晴), were not as lucky after letting their advantage slip away.

Seeded fifth, the Chan sisters were in control after drubbing their opponents Sharon Fichman of Canada and Giuliana Olmos of Mexico 6-1 in the opening set, and they looked likely to extend that lead when Chan Hao-ching had two game points on her serve to go up 3-1 in the second set.

Fichman and Olmos battled back to take the game, however, and grew stronger as the set progressed, squandering two set points up 5-4 and another two up 6-5 before cruising in the tiebreaker to even the match.

The unseeded duo was rarely in trouble in the final set, and eventually won 1-6, 7-6 (1), 6-2 in 2 hours and 12 minutes.

(By Luke Sabatier)

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