Dubai: Defending champion Hsieh Su-wei scampered to a 6-3, 6-1 win over Russian teen Anastasia Potapova and advanced to the second round on the opening day of the 20th Al Habtoor Tennis Challenge at the Habtoor Grand Beach Resort and Spa on Monday.
The 16-year-old from Russia produced an impressive display against a seasoned opponent in the opening set. But once Hsieh had got the measure of the youngster, the defending champion from Taipei just used all her experience to register two quick breaks and take the opening set 6-3. The second set was more of a formality as another two breaks were just enough for Hsieh to serve out the set and match 6-1.
“That first break that came in the seventh game was very important for the final outcome. All credit to her for playing so well especially in the first set. But once I got a hang of her game I knew what I had to do ensure she doesn’t make a comeback,” Hsieh told Gulf News.
Looking frail after recovering from recent viral attacks, Hsieh struggled at times and her opponent — nearly half her age — moved her around. However, she recovered well while keeping her focus.
“The main thing was to stick to my gameplan even though she was playing well. At no point did I panic just because she was serving well and using the court. I just had to stay focused and hang in there,” Hsieh related.
The 31-year-old now gets a one-day break on Tuesday before she continues with her title defence on Wednesday against Stephanie Voegele who went on to beat 2016 champion Cagla Buyukakcay 6-4, 6-0 earlier in the day. “The rest will do me good for sure. I have a doubles tomorrow [with younger sister Su-Ying] and I should be ready for Wednesday,” she said.