Mixed Fortunes for Taiwanese Tennis Stars at Roland Garros

Mixed Fortunes for Taiwanese Tennis Stars at Roland Garros
法網公開賽奪冠的謝淑薇/彭帥組合。Photo Credit: AP / 達志影像

Translated and compiled by Bing-sheng Lee

Five Taiwanese tennis players, including Lu Yen-hsun and Hsieh Su-wei, feature in this year’s French Open, one of the four grand slam tennis tournaments. Lu failed to pass the first round while Hsieh beat her rival in straight sets and advances to the second round.

Lu, ranked 95 in the world, took on world number one Novak Djokovic in the first round of the Men’s singles on May 24. He lost the match in straight sets, 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

Lu, 32, has just come off a four-month break after elbow surgery and resumed playing earlier this month in Seoul. The 2016 French Open was his first clay-court tournament this year.

Lu said the draw didn’t favor him because he had to face Djokovic in the first round. He knew his chances of beating the world number one were slim, but still managed to show credible resistance during the match.

Lu broke one of Djokovic’s service games in the first set, giving him the first opportunity of his career to take a set off Djokovic. However, after going down in the first set Lu only picked up two more games in the match. It was the second time that the pair faced off in a major – in 2010, Djokovic beat Lu in the Wimbledon quarterfinal, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2. Lu has advanced to the second round at French Open in two of the past three years.

In the women’s singles, Hsieh, ranked 80 in the world, beat Spain’s Lara Arruabarrena 7-6, 6-3 in the first round on May 22. She plays her second round match against world number 12 Petra Kvitova today.

The 30-year-old’s victory over world number 92 Arruabarrena was her first win in the French Open. She took the first set in a tiebreak. In the second set, Hsieh broke Arruabarrena’s service games twice to secure the victory.

This is the sixth time that Hsieh has played as a qualifier in the French Open and the first time she has advanced past the first round. The win not only increases her points in the world rankings, but also improves her odds for a spot in this year’s summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Hsieh’s next opponent is tenth seed Petra Kvitova from Czech Republic.

Lu and Hsieh have been the most successful Taiwanese tennis singles players in the past decade.

Lu beat Andy Murray – ranked six in the world at the time - in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. In 2010, he reached world number 33, the highest singles ranking of his career, after he triumphed over former world number one Andy Roddick at Wimbledon.

Hsieh‘s best singles result in grand slam tournaments was the fourth round in the 2008 Australian Open. Her best world ranking as a singles player was 23 in 2013.

Elite doubles players eyeing big prizes

Four Taiwanese players, all in the top 40 of the world’s women’s doubles rankings, will compete in the doubles at Roland Garros and have their eyes on major prizes at the tournament.

World number five Chan Yung-jan and world number seven Chan Hao-ching are sisters and they pair up as the third seed in the women’s doubles draw.

The two have performed competitively in major international tournaments in recent years. Earlier this year, the Chans advanced to the quarterfinals of the Australian Open before losing to Czech pair Andrea Hlaváčková and Lucie Hradecká. Their most recent doubles trophies are the 2016 Qatar Ladies Open and the 2015 Cincinnati Masters.

Another Taiwanese pair to play in this year’s French Open features Hsieh and Chuang Chia-jung. Chuang, who with Chan Yung-jan, was the runner-up in the women’s doubles of the 2007 Australian Open and the 2007 US Open. Hsieh and Chuang are the 16th seed of the event.

Hsieh was once the world number one doubles player. In 2013, Hsieh, partnered with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, won the doubles champion at Wimbledon - the first grand slam title in Taiwanese tennis history.

Peng and Hsieh later won the title at the 2013 WTA Tour Championships and the doubles championship at the 2014 French Open. They were the best women’s doubles players in Asia during the time.

Edited by Edward White

Sources:

TSNA

TSNA

TSNA

“Djokovic downs Lu in a hurry to reach round two” (euronews)

“Djokovic makes light work of Lu” (Sportal)

“Novak Djokovic vs Yen-Hsun Lu, French Open 2016: Where to watch live, preview, betting odds and live streaming information” (International Business Times)