TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan tennis ace Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) stunned top-seeded Japanese star Naomi Osaka at the Miami Open on Saturday (local time) to advance to the round of 16 in the women’s singles draw.
The 27th-seeded Hsieh raised her fist and broke into tears after she beat the world No. 1 4-6, 7-6 (4), 6-3 in a 2 hour and 18-minute match.
It was Hsieh’s fourth victory over a top-five player in the last 14 months and avenged a defeat to Osaka at the Australian Open earlier this year in which Hsieh had her Japanese opponent on the ropes before falling in three sets.
“It was very tough because last time I give [Osaka a] lot of double-faults,” Hsieh said, according to the WTA’s website. “This time, I’m thinking, ‘Okay, I try to put more balls in,’ and I do good.” “Last time, I think she tried to change the rhythm on the match,” Hsieh said. “This time I tried to focus on myself more. I know I [was] leading a lot last time and I lose the match. I was thinking, no matter what happens, I focus [on] what I need to do, then I try. I did it.” Hsieh was down a break in each of the final two sets in Saturday’s match and at one point was two points away from defeat, with Osaka serving a 5-4, 30-0 in the second set.
But just as Hsieh failed to close out a 40-0 service game when she was up 7-5, 4-2 against Osaka in Melbourne, the Japanese fell flat in Miami, serving two double faults in the next three points and sending a backhand wide to allow the Taiwanese veteran to climb back into the match.
The key this time was to “just never give up. I fight until the last point,” Hsieh said.
“Every time you’ve made it and you beat a good player, you feel wow this is everything,” she said, adding that “this is so amazing, and I’ve made it.” Hsieh will next face former world No. 1 and 13th seed Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark in the fourth round. Wozniacki has won all four of her previous encounters against the Taiwanese.
The 33-year-old Hsieh also played her first match in the Miami doubles draw on Saturday and advanced to the round of 16 with partner Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic by beating Americans Kaitlyn Christian and Asia Muhammad 7-5, 7-5 in 91 minutes.
Hsieh’s recent success in both singles and doubles has tested her fitness, so she was happy to pass Saturday’s test.
“I’m glad I did marathon match[es] today, singles and doubles,” Hsieh said. “I think my fitness is improved. Hope I can hang in there, to have my stronger little muscles to fight.” Also in the doubles draw, Taiwan’s sister duo of Latisha Chan (詹詠然) and Chan Hao-ching (詹皓晴), seeded eighth in Miami, squeezed past Irina-Camelia Begu and Mihaela Buzarnescu of Romania 3-6, 7-5, 1-0 (8) in their opening match in the women’s doubles in 95 minutes.
By Emerson Lim and Luke Sabatier