Tennis: Halep soars past Hsieh in Eastbourne opener to reach last sixteen round
No.6 seed Simona Halep dropped just two games against the always-tricky Hsieh Su-Wei to power into the third round of the Nature Valley International.
Playing in her first singles match since the French Open, Halep completed the seamless transition onto grass courts in style, defeating Hsieh 6-2, 6-0 in just 53 minutes.
Halep and Hsieh last played at the Wimbledon Championships, where the veteran from Chinese Taipei snapped the then-reigning Roland Garros winner’s nine-match Grand Slam winning streak in a thrilling upset and one of the best matches of 2018.
Hsieh continued her renaissance into 2019 in both singles and doubles, reaching the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships semifinals and Miami Open quarterfinals, and winning the former in doubles with Barbora Strycova.
Still, it was Halep, who kicked off her grass court swing with a surprising doubles with over top seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Xu Yi-Fan – alongside countrywoman Raluca Olaru – who was primed for revenge on Tuesday, racing though the match in under an hour.
“It felt really well because I played great tonight, and I felt the ball a lot,” Halep said after the match. “The doubles match I played definitely helped me a lot for today.”
Saving a break point in her opening service game, Halep broke Hsieh twice to clinch the opening set and raced out to a 5-0 lead in the second.
It was then that the pair played an epic final game as Hsieh saved three match points and held three break points of her own to get on the board.
Halep was ultimately undeterred, and sealed victory on her fourth match point.
Up next, Halep will take on Polona Hercog for a spot in the quarterfinals. Hercog edged past Pauline Parmentier earlier in the day, coming back from a set down to win 2-6, 6-2, 7-6(4).