Su-Wei Hsieh Stuns Johanna Konta At The French Open To Secure Biggest Win Of Her Career - UBITENNIS
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Su-Wei Hsieh Stuns Johanna Konta At The French Open To Secure Biggest Win Of Her Career

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Su-Wei Hsieh

Su-Wei Hsieh secured the biggest singles win of her career as she defeated a top 10 player for the first time in the form of Johanna Konta 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-4 in the first round at the French Open.

Ranked at 109 in the world, the Chinese Taipei player was on a five match losing streak and the signs looked ominous after losing the first set 6-1, but Hsieh dug deep and staved off five break points in the second set before taking it on a tiebreak. After trading breaks in the final set she held her nerve, staving off four break back points in the final game before ousting the seventh seed.

Hsieh advances to face Taylor Townsend in the second round after the American defeated Miyu Kato in straight sets 6-4, 6-0. There were also opening round victories for fifth seed Elina Svitolina, 21st seed Carla Suarez Navarro, Tsvetana Pironkova and Sorana Cirstea.

Konta was making her third main draw appearance at Roland Garros and despite being ranked at eight in the world had never won a match here. Having gained some confidence from getting a couple of match wins on clay under her belt in Rome, Konta looked very sharp and got off to the perfect start on court Philippe Chatrier. The Brit out-powered her opponent early on, forcing Hsieh into some early errors to hand the break to the seventh seed as she quickly moved 3-0 in front.

Having only won two of the previous 15 points, Hsieh was able to settle her early match nerves somewhat and hold to get her first game on the board. Hsieh gained some confidence and applied pressure on the Brit’s serve at 15-30, but the seventh seed did not buckle and held to keep in front.

After securing a double break, Konta had no trouble closing out a flawless first set having made 70% of her first serves in, winning 93% of those points. The Brit sealed it with an ace to take it 6-1 after 26 minutes.

The signs looked ominous for the player from Chinese Taipei after she squandered two game points in the third game of the second set and found herself break point down. An unorthodox, but very effective drop shot off the backhand side with both hands on the racket was enough to catch Konta off guard and Hsieh was able to recover to hold and stay in front.

Konta kept pushing to try and make the breakthrough and had another chance in the seventh game, but narrowly missed an attempted cross court backhand winner wide on break point before Hsieh moved 4-3 in front.

The seventh seed faced pressure on her own serve in the following game as Hsieh earned her first break points of the match. Konta saved the first with some fierce groundstrokes before becoming rather fortunate after her opponent missed a relatively easy smash put-away to squander the second break point. The Brit remained mentally strong in the important moments and saved a third break point with a backhand down the line winner and then snuffed out a fourth chance before coming through the toughest game of the match to level at 4-4.

Johanna Konta

The wait goes on for a maiden win at Roland Garros for Konta. (Photo: Zimbio.com)

Konta looked to have finally gotten the better of her opponent with her relentless pressure on the groundstrokes as she earned three break points at 0-40, but Hsieh raised her game and did exceptionally well to reel off five points in a row to move 6-5 in front. The next game also proved to be a battle as the Brit suddenly faced a set point. The seventh seed did well to stay calm and strike a forehand winner to stay in the set and then had to face the disappointment of squandering two chances to hold before finally coming through to force a second set tiebreak.

In the tiebreak Konta gained an immediate point against the serve after Hsieh put an attempted lob beyond the baseline, but after a few errors the Brit found herself 4-2 behind at the change of ends. Things got no better for the seventh seed at the other end of the court as Hsieh’s level continued to climb, taking three more points to seal the tiebreak 7-2 and with it level the match at one set all.

Both players held their opening couple of service games before three breaks in a row left Hsieh leading 5-3. Konta held serve to love to force the world number 109 to serve for the match and it looked to be a too tougher task for the player from Chinese Taipei after she faced four break points. Having squandered the first three chances the Brit came agonisingly close to taking the fourth but her attempted drop shot clipped the top of the tape and landed back on her side of the net. The seventh seed desperately tried to stay in the contest and saved a match point, but Hsieh was not to be denied for a second time as she sealed the biggest win of her career 1-6, 7-6(2), 6-4.

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World No.634 Laura Samson Reaches First WTA Quarter-Final At 16

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Laura Samon - image via itftennis.com/ photo credi: Manuel Queimadelos

Laura Samson has become the first player born in 2008 to reach the quarter-finals of a WTA event after producing a surprise win on Tuesday. 

The 16-year-old wildcard stunned second seed Katerina Siniakova 1-6, 7-5, 6-3, in the second round at the Prague Open. Her triumph occurred a day after she dropped just two games against Tara Wurth in her opening match. This week is Samson’s Tour debut after playing 10 events on the lower-level ITF circuit. 

“I’m extremely surprised,” she said during her on-court interview after beating Siniakova. “I didn’t go into it as favorite. I’m so proud of myself and I hope I will continue to play like this. As I was going into the second set I thought, ‘I have nothing to lose, I didn’t play good in the first set.’ I’m not really sure when [I thought I could win], I just believed myself in the third set.” 

Samson is the latest Czech player to break through following a sucessful junior career. Last year she won the Wimbledon girls’ doubles title and was runner-up in the French Open singles tournament in June. She is currently No.3 in the ITF junior rankings but has been ranked as high as No.1. 

Earlier this year, Samson decided to change her name on the Tour by dropping the last three letters (ova). The reason why she did so was to avoid getting confused with another player. 

“I first noticed it last year, there was a problem that I was getting strings (the) of Lyudmila Samsonova,” she told tenisovysvet.cz.

“I also talked about it with her and, for example, according to the schedule, she also sometimes thought she was playing, but it was me,” 

“I would have liked the ending -ová, but unfortunately it turned out like this.”

The teenager will next take on world No.248 Oksana Selekhmeteva with the winner of that match progressing to their first WTA semi-final.  21-year-old Selekhmeteva is a former top 10 junior player who came through two rounds of qualifying to reach the main draw. She is a two-time junior Grand Slam champion in doubles. 

There are five seeds remaining in the tournament, including top seed Linda Nosková who will play Germany’s Ella Seidel in her next match. 

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Alex De Minaur Overcomes Injury To Fulfil Olympic Dream

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ASlex de Minaur - Roland Garros 2022 (foto Roberto dell'Olivo)

Alex de Minaur says it is a ‘dream come true’ for him to represent Australia in the Olympic Games after missing the event three years ago.

The world No.6 had been in a race against time to be fit for the Olympic tennis event after suffering an agonising injury setback at Wimbledon earlier this month. At the All England Club de Minaur reached the quarter-final stage for the first time and was set to take on Novak Djokovic. However, he was forced to withdraw from the match after tearing the fibre cartilage in his hip region after suffering a ‘freak’ injury. At the time of the announcement, it was estimated that he would be sidelined from the Tour for three to six weeks. 

However, the 25-year-old appears to have recovered fairly quickly in time for Paris with the tennis tournament starting on Saturday. It will be de Minaur’s debut in the Olympics after he was forced to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to a positive COVID-19 test. 

“To finally be able to represent Australia in the Olympics is a dream come true,” he wrote on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

“I’m very passionate when I play for my country and wear the green and gold, so this is another one of those moments. 

“I’m extremely excited to lace up for Paris 2024.”

De Minaur is bidding to become the first male player from his country to win an Olympic medal in the singles event. He has already won two ATP titles this year in Alcapulco and s-Hertogenbosch. Since the start of January, he has won five out of 11 meetings against top 10 players. 

“It’s really great news – we’re actually expecting Alex to arrive in the village ahead of the official draw (on Thursday) and we know he’s been working with his rehab team quite extensively since the conclusion of Wimbledon,” Australian chef de mission Anna Meares told the Australian Associated Press (AAP).

“He’s hungry to be here, he wants to be a part of this team and we will offer as much support as we can in that process.

“He’s coming – we will wait to see that process. He still has time … injury can be a really stressful thing for an athlete and the more you rush it, the more problems you can potentially cause.

“We’re leaving it in the hands of Alex and his rehabilitation team … it will be a decision purely by them.” 

De Minaur is one of five Australian men playing in the Paris Olympics. The others are Alexei Popyrin, Matthew Ebden, John Peers and Rinky Hijikata. 

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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