Tennis  

Nadal through to fourth round, Halep suffers upset

Spain’s Rafael Nadal celebrates after winning against Australia’s Alex De Minaur during their men’s singles third round match on the sixth day of the 2018 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London, on July 7, 2018. Nadal won the match 6-1, 6-2, 6-4. Ben STANSALL / AFP

Rafael Nadal sailed into the fourth round with a 6/1; 6/2; 6/4 victory over Alex De Minaur of Australia while the top seeded Simona Halep suffered a heart-breaking upset in the hands of Su-Wei Hsieh from Chinese (Taipei) 6/3; 4/6; 7/5.

The Nadal match on Centre Court started routinely with Nadal holding serve to register 1-0 on the score board. In the fourth game with De Minaur’ serving at 40-30, Nadal battled to deuce and took the next two advantage points yet required a third opportunity for the break and a 3-1 lead. A second break of De Minaur’s serve had Nadal serving out the set at 6-1.

In the second set, games proceeded with serve until Nadal took De Minaur to deuce and gained the break to lead 3-2. He extended the lead to 4-2. In the seventh game, the Australian faced three break points and conceded the game. The serve for the set was stretched out. Nadal fell behind 0-15 and later faced a 30-40 break threat, which he annulled. Alex had the first advantage but could not convert. Nadal delivered a 125mph ace to reach game point and he clinched the set 6-2. The fourth set was played over one hour and five minutes and won by Nadal, 6-4; for a straight sets victory.

The top seed, Simona Halep came into the third round match as one of the two remaining among the top ten ladies. When she broke her opponent’s serve in the seventh game of the first set, it took an effort for her to hold the eighth game. Then she broke Hsieh’s serve to take the first set and the momentum seemed in her favour, especially as she took the first game of the second set. Although she led 30-15 in the third game she dropped she serve and Hsieh held to lead 3-1. The world number one player broke back to level 3 games apiece and won her next serve at love to lead 4-3. However, she lost her serve in the crucial ninth game and Hsieh held serve to win 6-4.

Halep took her service in the first game of the third set and outlasted Hsieh in a long game to lead 2-0. The semblance of victory in the horizon did not materialise, as the unorthodox shot maker from Taipei took the disrupted Halep’s rhythm in a set fought for one hour and 2 minutes. In the end, Su-Wei Hsieh, ranked 48 in the world, stunned the top seed by taking the decider seven games to five to move into the fourth round of Wimbledon for the first time. With the shocking upset, the seventh-seeded Karolina Pliskova of Czech Republic is the only one of the top 10 seeds still in the tournament.

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