On day four of the 2015 EA Hua Hin Championship, a new stop in the WTA 125K Series calendar in Thailand, second round matches were completed in the bottom half of the draw. Although the WTA season ending championships have taken place, many players are continuing to fight to improve their rankings and attempt to secure a spot in the main draw of the 2016 Australian Open.
Saisai Zheng Upset by Veteran Su-Wei Hsieh
Opening play on Centre Court was the second round match between the Chinese number one Zheng and Taiwanese number one Hsieh. Coming into the match Zheng led the head-to-head 3-2 and has shown better form than her opponent, taking a set off Venus Williams last week at the WTA Elite Trophy Zhuhai.
Early on however, the match was in the hands of the 29-year-old veteran Hsieh, who was ranked as high as 23 in the world. Controlling points with her two-handed groundstrokes and coming into the net to finish points, Hsieh quickly captured the opening set 6-1. Momentum quickly shifted in the second as Zheng raised her serve percentage and took advantage of errors from her opponent to claim the set 6-2 and send it into the decider. Hsieh was able to recover from her second set drop in form and used her deceptive shot selection skills to get an early break and hold on for a 6-1, 2-6, 6-2 victory with a stylish drop volley winner on match point.
Yaroslava Shvedova, Ying-Ying Duan, And Qiang Wang Advance
World number 82 Shvedova advanced to the quarterfinal in a tight match with Chinese qualifier Chang Liu. There was little between the two aggressive players, with the lower ranked Liu pushing Shvedova into an opening set tiebreak.
Under pressure the inexperienced Liu faltered in the tiebreak, serving a double-fault at 4-4. With two big first serves Shvedova seized the moment taking the opener 7-6(4). The second set was similar to the first, with tight games and hard-hitting throughout. Shvedova took advantage of her opponent's nerves, breaking Liu to win 7-6(4) 6-4.
In a match of contrasting styles, the powerful Duan overcame fifth seed Kurumi Nara of Japan in a three set match which saw the Japanese player constantly under pressure and scrambling to defend against Duan's aggressive play. The third set saw Duan take command using her power to secure the victory 6-4, 4-6, 6-1. Rounding out the bottom half matches was the all Chinese derby between Qiang Wang and Yafan Wang. The elder of the two compatriots, Qiang, proved too solid showing off good defensive skills and the ability to take control of points with her backhand, resulting in a 6-3, 6-1 win.
Looking Ahead To The Quarterfinals
All four quarterfinal matches will offer something of interest, starting with the all teenage battle between Japan's Naomi Osaka and China's Fangzhou Liu. Both big-serving teens have shown flashed of talent but a deep run here will boost their rankings considerably. Tomorrow will also be an important day for the Chinese pair of Duan and Wang, as victories are necessary to secure main draw spots for the 2016 Australian Open. The pair will face tough challenges in Shvedova and Hsieh respectively, with the Taiwanese player hoping to re-enter the top 100 for the first time since February 2014. The remaining match-up will see home interest as Luksika Kumkhum will face the fast rising Nao Hibino, who recently won her first WTA tour title at the Tashkent Open in Uzbekistan.