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Tennis: Lisicki powers into Hong Kong quarters; Zheng Saisai next

Top seed Sabine Lisicki crushed American Grace Min 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the Prudential Hong Kong Open. Photo: Halo Studio.

Sabine Lisicki crushed Grace Min 6-1, 6-1 in the second round of the Prudential Hong Kong Open. Photo: Halo Studio.

September 10, 2014: Sabine Lisicki re-established her status as the top seed at the Prudential Hong Kong Open by marching into the quarters with a 6-1, 6-1 thrashing of Grace Min on Wednesday evening – less than a day after almost being bundled out in the first round.

 

Lisicki, who broke the WTA’s fastest-serve record in July, was on the verge of elimination against Monica Niculescu on Tuesday night before winning a second-set tiebreak and cruising through the decider 6-1.

 

The powerful 24-year-old – who won the last of her three WTA titles in August 2011 – continued that third-set form into Wednesday’s second-round match and has now lost just three games in her last three sets at the US$250,000 WTA International event.

 

“I think I played very well. I wasn’t making many mistakes. I was playing a pretty clean match and that’s obviously what you want. In last night’s match, I was actually playing pretty well in the end and I think I took it into today, which was good,” said Lisicki, who was ranked as high as World No. 12 in 2012.

 

“I think I’m playing better and better in all aspects of the game. I was hitting much cleaner today. I was picking my spots better and overall I think it was pretty good.”

 

Lisicki, last year’s Wimbledon finalist, admitted to knowing “nothing” about Chinese youngster Zheng Saisai, her quarter-final opponent.

Lisicki, last year’s Wimbledon finalist, said she’s inspired by Germany’s fighting spirit at the FIFA World Cup and says she now wants to lift a trophy in Hong Kong, after bouncing back from her first-round struggle. Photo: SportAsia.

Lisicki, who reached last year’s Wimbledon final, admitted to knowing “nothing” about quarter-final opponent Zheng Saisai, but had plenty to say about her first-round struggles against Niculescu, when she struggled badly with her own serve – including five double-faults in one game – and her opponent’s backspin forehands, a rare sight in top-level tennis.

 

“Yesterday was the first match and you have to get used to the conditions, because centre court is a bit slower than the other courts,” Lisicki said. “Obviously Monica plays a completely different game, so you cannot really practise for that because nobody on tour plays like her. I needed some time to adapt to that. I didn’t start off well at all, but the key is to win it. I turned it around in the second set and all that matters, because it gave me another chance today.”

 

A fan of Bayern Munich, Lisicki watched the Germany football team play a friendly last week and admitted to being inspired by her country’s World Cup win in Brazil.

 

“What they did in the summer is inspiring. It’s great for German sports in general. Their fighting spirit inspires me. Sometimes they didn’t play well – against Algeria they didn’t play well at all – but still they somehow managed to win and at the end of the day they won the World Cup and no one cares about that one game any more because they won the whole thing,” Lisicki said.

 

Zheng Saisai secured a surprise 6-4, 6-2 win over sixth seed Yanina Wickmayer. Photo: Halo Studio.

Zheng Saisai secured a surprise 6-4, 6-2 win over sixth seed Yanina Wickmayer. Photo: Halo Studio.

“There are still a few more matches ahead of me here. When I go to any tournament I want to play well and win it; that’s what you go for. I’m happy that I’m starting to play better and better with each set, each match I play, so that’s also the goal for me for the next weeks, during the Asian swing. It’s nice to have a good start here.”

 

Zheng Saisai, the World No. 102, earlier moved into the last eight after the 20-year-old Chinese pulled off a surprise 6-4, 6-2 win over sixth seed Yanina Wickmayer, ranked 40 places higher in the WTA rankings.

 

Francesca Schiavone, 34, also moved into the quarters when 43-year-old Kimiko Date-Krumm retired with an injured right shoulder in the second set of their match. Schiavone, the 2010 French Open champion, was leading 6-4, 4-0 when the popular Japanese star had to withdraw after extensive on-court treatment.

 

Australian Jarmila Gajdosova also moved into the quarters with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Dutch youngster Kiki Bertens.

 

Jarmila Gajdosova also moved into the quarters with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Kiki Bertens.

Jarmila Gajdosova also moved into the quarters with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 win over Kiki Bertens. Photo: Halo Studio.

Second seed Daniela Hantuchova won Wednesday’s opening match on centre court by brushing aside Hong Kong No. 1 Zhang Ling 6-1, 6-4, although she had to save two game points when 3-0 down in the second set against the World No. 219.

 

The 31-year-old Slovakian – who has won nine WTA titles and reached a career high of World No. 5 in 2003 – regained her composure in the stifling heat at Victoria Park to set up a second-round meeting with 20-year-old Belgian Alison Van Uytvanck.

 

“It was definitely the hottest conditions I have played in and I suppose this was the reason why my concentration slipped a little bit at the start of the second set,” said Hantuchova, who took a toilet break when 3-0 down and reappeared in a fresh new kit.

 

“It was impossible to stay on court. My dress was heavy and I had to change. I found I was struggling to play the right shots at the right time and I was losing focus. The change helped me.”

 

Results: September 10 (Wednesday)

 

Singles – Second Round

[1] [WC] S Lisicki (GER) d G Min (USA) 61 61

S Zheng (CHN) d [6] Y Wickmayer (BEL) 64 62

F Schiavone (ITA) d K Date-Krumm (JPN) 63 40 ret. (right shoulder injury)

[Q] J Gajdosova (AUS) d K Bertens (NED) 46 61 64

 

Singles - First Round

[2] D Hantuchova (SVK) d [WC] L Zhang (HKG) 61 64

 

Doubles – Quarterfinals

Y Wang (CHN) / J Zheng (CHN) d P Parmentier (FRA) / L Thorpe (FRA) 62 63

 

Doubles – First Round

[1] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) d [WC] M Linette (POL) / L Zhang (HKG) 46 64 10-2

[3] K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE) d [WC] W Chan (HKG) / H Wu (HKG) 63 64

P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) / A Rodionova (AUS) d [4] J Husarova (SVK) / S Zheng (CHN) 16 63 11-9

C Chuang (TPE) / J Namigata (JPN) d X Han (CHN) / P Martic (CRO) 61 76(4)

 

Order of Play: September 11 (Thursday)

 

Centre Court start 3:00 pm

M Puig (PUR) vs [3] Ka. Pliskova (CZE)

[5] J Zheng (CHN) vs [Q] K Zhang (CHN)

Not Before 7:30 pm

A Van Uytvanck (BEL) vs [2] D Hantuchova (SVK)

 

Court 1 start 3:00 pm

[Q] L Zhu (CHN) vs [7] J Cepelova (SVK)

S Hsieh (TPE) / S Hsieh (TPE) vs P Mayr-Achleitner (AUT) / Ar. Rodionova (AUS)

[3] K Pliskova (CZE) / K Pliskova (CZE) vs C Chan (TPE) / Y Xu (CHN)

[1] H Chan (TPE) / Y Chan (TPE) vs C Chuang (TPE) / J Namigata (JPN)

 

For more information, visit: www.hongkongopen.com

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