Wimbledon Day 6: Women’s Championship
Simona Halep got caught up in a titanic momentum shift as she fought for her Wimbledon survival, with the top seed crashing out despite holding a match point against Hsieh Su-Wei on Saturday.
The 32-year-old Asian outsider, ranked 48th, scored the victory of her career after trailing 5-2 in the final set, triumphing 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 in a comeback to beat a Top 10 opponent for the third time – all three in little more than a year.
Hsieh, coached by former Wimbledon doubles champion Paul McNamee, overcame fatigue as she closed out the upset after two hours, 20 minutes.
Haleo blamed herself for an “unprofessional” performance.
“I wasn’t very positive, it was a very unprofessional match for me,” she said.
“I’m tired, I have pain everywhere. But I have no excuses. I’m upset about myself on court today.”
Halep drove three straight forehands into the net to go down to defeat a month after winning the French Open and breaking her Grand Slam duck.
Hsieh was stunned by her success, partially crediting her love of Wimbledon’s trademark food group for helping her through so far.
[quote] “This year I have tried to enjoy more, not just tennis but life, food, strawberries and cream.” [/quote]
“I am really enjoying playing tennis, I just feel free on the court.
“I had to fight to beat the No. 1, it was amazing. I was tired in the third set and trailed 5-2, but the crowd support was important.
“She played amazing, hitting so many lines. I had to run and fight each point. I concentrated on my game and calmed down a bit in the last set.”
Hsieh saved a match point in the tenth game of the third set in a contest where she hung on despite being broken seven times.
Halep was disappointed to exit as she did: “it’s hard on grass for me to do better.
“I had 5-2 and a match point, but things didn’t go my way. She deserved to win. she was mixing up her game well.
“It’s a big challenge for me to play on grass. I can’t play my best tennis here. I hope to improve for the next years.”
Halep’s fellow French Open (2016) champion Jelena Ostapenko had better luck on the day, reaching the second week after escaping trouble against Russian Vitalina Diatchenko 6-0, 6-4.
[quote] There is now only one Top 10 women’s seed left in the field after Halep’s loss – No. 7 Czech Karolina Pliskova is still flying the flag.[end quote]
Halep beat Hsieh in their only other match, played five years ago on Cincinnati hardcourt. The 48th-ranked Hsieh was competing in only her second contest against a world No. 1 after losing to Maria Sharapova six years ago.
Russian 14th seed Daria Kasatkina put out 2011 junior champion Ash Barty 7-5, 6-3, preventing the loser from becoming the first Australian woman since 2010 to reach the fourth round here.
Belgian Van Uytvanck stoppeed Estonia’s Anett Kontaveit 6-2, 6-3. Slovak pocket rocket Dominika Cibulkova advanced past Belgium’s Els Mertens 6-2, 6-2 on a fifth match point to next face Hsieh. Cibulkova would have been the 32nd seed had seven-time winner Serena Wlliams not been inserted as 25th seed by Wimbledon.
There was a victory for Belinda Bencic, who is making another successful injury comeback. The Swiss defeated Spain’s Carla Suarez Navarro 6-1, 7-6(3) to reach the Wimbledon fourth round for a second time.
Benic will play for the quarter-finals against 2016 finalist Angelique Kerber, who booked her last 16 spot with a 6-2, 6-3 win in 63 minutes over Japan’s Naomi Osaka.
“I knew what to expect, we’ve had a few battle,” Kerber said in victory. “”I’m playing my game and trying to be aggressive.
“It’s magic to be on the Centre court. I’m focusing on myself and trying to improve my game.”