Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei yesterday had to dig deep to maintain her defense of the Japan Women’s Open title, as Australian Priscilla Hon served for the match three times before the top seed eventually prevailed to book her place in the quarter-finals in Hiroshima.
World No. 29 Hsieh was made to battle for a second day, this time falling a set behind to the world No. 123, before fighting back to edge the match 1-6, 7-6 (7/2), 7-5 in 2 hours, 10 minutes.
The 33-year-old Taiwanese was well off the pace in the first set, failing to create a single break point as the 21-year-old Australian converted two of four to take control of the match.
“In the first set, [Hon] was hitting so well and I had no rhythm,” Hsieh told the WTA Web site.
“I just couldn’t get my game and style going. It was not a good situation for me, but the next two sets I got going,” she said.
In a close second set, in which each player converted four of nine break points, the Australian served for the match at 5-4 and 6-5, but Hsieh broke back each time to set up a tiebreaker in which Hon hit too many shots long.
The Australian served for the match again at 5-3 in the third, but the Taiwanese broke back once again and did not look back, converting her first match point when Hon fired a backhand wide.
It was one of many long shots that cost the Australian, who hit 49 winners to Hsieh’s 26, but committed 55 unforced errors to the defending champion’s 29.
Hsieh next faces world No. 146 Nao Hibino of Japan, who had a much easier day after 2017 champion and sixth seed Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan retired from their match with a back injury while trailing 6-1, 3-2.
“I’m not thinking about that too much right now, but [Hibino is] a good player,” Hsieh said.
“I need to recover, eat good, sleep good, prevent injuries — that’s the best way to prepare,” she said.
“I am slowly picking up my game this week, so let’s hope it gets going again for the match,” she added.
Also advancing to the quarter-finals yesterday were second seed Veronika Kudermetova of Russia and eighth seed Laura Siegemund of Germany.