TAIPEI (CNA) – Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei (謝淑薇) has been branded as an upset specialist so far this year, but it might be time to start thinking of her as a legitimate contender for WTA titles.
Two days after humbling world No. 1 Naomi Osaka in three sets at the Miami Open, the cagey 33-year-old veteran topped former world No. 1 and currently 13th-ranked Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark 6-3, 6-7 (0), 6-2 in a round of 16 match.
It was her fifth victory against a top-20 player this year and sent her into the first quarterfinal in a WTA Premier Mandatory event in her career, where she will face 21st seed Anett Kontaveit of Estonia on Tuesday Miami time.
This follows a strong showing at the Dubai Open where she steamrolled the 10th, fifth and fourth seeds to reach the semifinals of a Premier 5 event for the first time.
Premier Mandatory and Premier 5 tournaments are the tiers just below Grand Slam events and generally feature the game’s top players.
Hsieh endured several shifts in momentum to secure victory against
Twice within two points of victory in the second set on Wozniacki’s serve, Hsieh lost 11 of the set’s final 12 points, including all seven in the tiebreaker.
But she regained her touch to start the third set, losing only two points in the first four games, and eventually prevailed.
Prior to shocking then seventh seed Johanna Konta of Great Britain at the French Open in 2017, Hsieh was best known as a doubles specialist who was ranked No. 1 in doubles after winning Wimbledon in 2013 and the French Open in 2014 with Peng Shuai of China.
She was ranked as high as 23rd in singles in 2013 but had never defeated a top-10 player until stopping Konta.
Hsieh then went on to upset world No. 3 Garbine Muguruza of Spain and former world No. 1 Agnieszka Radwanska at the Australian Open in 2018 and knocked off world No. 1 Simona Halep of Romania at Wimbledon the same year to signal her arrival as a real singles threat before starting strong in 2019.
The 33-year-old said after her win over Osaka in Miami that the constant support she has from her traveling team, including boyfriend Frederic Aniere, has been a blessing.
“I was traveling myself for a long time. I had a part-time coach. It wasn’t easy for a player to play in the tour when they don’t get a sponsor or they don’t get help,” she was quoted as saying on the WTA website.
Though she has worn down occasionally at the end of matches, Hsieh has show unprecedented resilience in third sets, including coming from 5-1 down in the third set to stun fourth-seeded Karolina Pliskova in Dubai, which may stem from a more regular fitness regimen.
“A long time ago I was doing less fitness, and my tennis level was not going good like this year. The fitness was not very good,” she told the WTA website.
Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Chan sisters – Latisha Chan and Chan Hao-ching – advanced to the quarterfinals of the women’s doubles event in Miami with a 7-5, 6-2 win over unseeded Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and Demi Schuurs of the Netherlands.
The Chans, seeded eighth in Miami, will next face Belinda Bencic of Switzerland and Daria Kasatkina of Russia on Tuesday Miami time for a spot in the semifinals.
By Luke Sabatier