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Hsieh Shocks Muguruza To Reach AO Tennis 2018 Third Round

Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan celebrates her win against Garbine Muguruza of Spain in round two on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 18 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

 

 

Pacing slowly near the baseline, Su-Wei Hsieh pressed pause on this sweaty Australian Open battle.

 

Bending over to rescue a bug from the scorching court, Hsieh carefully handed the insect to a ball kid for safe keeping.

 

Showing delicate touch, Hsieh delivered brilliant dissection.

 

The slender world No. 82 befuddled Garbine Muguruza with clever care dispatching the Wimbledon champion, 7-6 (1), 6-4, to surge into the Australian Open third round for the first time in 10 years.

 

The 32-year-old Hsieh has a soft spot for all insects, but remains a major giant killer.

 

Last spring, Hsieh stunned seventh-seeded Johanna Konta in the opening round of Roland Garros, 1-6, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

 

On a blazing hot afternoon on Rod Laver Arena, Hsieh moved like a whisper and struck with subtlety denying the third-seeded Spaniard the pace she craves while coaxing Muguruza to produce her flat drives from awkward positions on court.

 

Often opening the court driving returns down the line, Hsieh won 24 of 32 points played on Muguruza’s second serve.

 

The two-time Grand Slam champion crashed out of Melbourne a couple hours after 123rd-ranked lucky loser Bernarda Pera toppled Konta, 6-4, 7-5.

 

One of the most gifted athletes on the Tour, Muguruza is not always adept at making mid-match adjustments. Casting nervous glances toward coach Sam Sumyk, Muguruza could not solve the problems Hsieh posed, strained to decipher the direction of her opponent’s deceptive two-handed strokes and struggled to string solid service games together.

 

The third-ranked Muguruza fought hard, but grew frustrated trying to squeeze her flat drives down the line. Muguruza scattered 37 unforced errors.

 

Surging out to a 4-0 lead in the tie break, Hsieh extended to 5-1 on a Muguruza double fault. A backhand winner down the line brought her to set point and when Muguruza missed a return, Hsieh had the first set in hand.

 

In a tennis irony, Hsieh lacks a driver’s license but has been using her mischievious ball-control skills to drive opponents nuts for years.

 

Soft touch and the ability to hold the ball on her strings are Hsieh assets. She served effectively down the stretch, sliding an ace to seal a love hold for a 4-2 second-set lead.

 

Muguruza once qualified for the WTA Finals in both singles and doubles and was productive on the attack today, but badly bungled a routine forehand volley to hand Hsieh the break and a 5-2 second-set lead.

 

The Wimbledon champion broke back then staved off a match point following an inside-out forehand where she zapped a forehand swing volley right into Hsieh’s body as she earned a hard-fought hold for 4-5.

 

Serving for the match again, Hsieh brought the magic. She opened the final game with a brilliant backhand pass down the line that splashed the center of the sideline and closed with another backhand down the line.

 

Hsieh, who appeared to pinch back tears of joy after the two-hour triumph, will face another touch artist, Agnieszka Radwanska, for a place in the round of 16.

 

The 26th-seeded Radwanska rallied past Lesia Tsurenko, 2-6, 7-5, 6-3, to reach the third round for the ninth time in the last 10 years.

Garbine Muguruza of Spain during a break in play against Hsieh Su-wei of Taiwan in round two on day four of the Australian Open tennis tournament, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 18 January 2018. EPA-EFE/DEAN LEWINS

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