Safarova/Strycova v Hsieh/Peng match highlights (QF)
Match highlights from the QF of the Women's Doubles action on Day 9.
Su-Wei Hsieh’s astonishing Australian Open continues, having soared into the women’s doubles semifinals alongside Peng Shuai without dropping a set.
Peng and Hsieh, who captivated the Melbourne Park audience with her unorthodox brand of tennis to reach the singles fourth round, managed to cruise past Czech No.4 seeds Lucie Safarova and Barbora Strycova 6-1 6-4 on Tuesday.
“My partner is super good,” said Hsieh. “No, my partner is good,” quipped Peng. The camaraderie has clearly lifted this duo.
“We’ve known each other for 20 years and we’re good friends,” said Peng, surprised to advance to the final four given the duo fell in the Sydney International opening round earlier this month. “We are playing without pressure and decided at the end of last year we’d try one more time together.”
Hsieh’s retrieval skills kept a rally alive, before a missed Strycova smash provided the first break for 3-1 on the board as the No.8 seeds sauntered to a set lead.
Safarova/Strycova combined to recover from 1-4 to 4-4 in the second set, but a rasping Peng backhand pass ignited the pivotal break to close out victory.
“She played so well in the singles, that has helped us I think,” added Peng, referring to Hsieh’s run. “We pretty excited. We’re just trying to fight, but will keep enjoying ourselves.”
They will vie for a place in the trophy showdown against Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic after top seeds Latisha Chan with Andrea Sestini Hlavackova were edged in a thrilling 6-4 0-6 7-6(6) contest.
The match culminated in a tiebreak for a ticket into the final four.
World No.1 Chan displayed her sharp reactions to dismiss a first match point with a reaction volley, before Babos overcut a putaway to net their second match point.
Klavackova, a finalist at Melbourne Park in 2017, gifted a third match point; following a lung-bursting rally, the Czech struck a smash onto the net cord.
This time the Hungarian-French duo took their chance, with Mladenovic unleashing a ferocious forehand to spark the celebrations.
Meanwhile, No.2 seeds Elena Vesnina and Ekaterina Makarova recovered from a lethargic start to prevail 0-6 6-1 7-6(2) facing Gabriela Dabrowski and Yifan Xu.
“We’re used to playing long matches like this in Australia,” said a relieved Makarova. “Every year we seem to play over two hours on court.
“They played unbelievable tennis in the first set, so it was a great battle. We’re so happy we got through.”
Vesnina, who teamed up with Makarova to reach the 2014 final, praised her partner’s clutch play in the decider.
“One or two points decided it, that was such a tough match,” reflected Vesnina. “Ekaterina played amazingly at the end of the third set, she carried us until the end.
“It’s such a pleasure to win matches like this, it gives us a lot of confidence we can win any match.”
The No.2 seeds progress to a semifinal showdown with Romanian duo Irina-Camelia Begu and Monica Niculescu.
The 10th seeds struck 44 winners to oust Americans Jennifer Brady and Vania King 4-6 6-2 6-0.