Hsieh Su-wei produced the biggest shock of the women’s draw at the 2018 Australian Open after she ousted a struggling Garbiñe Muguruza in the second round with an impressive straight-sets victory after more than two hours of play.
Despite struggling with her mentality at times, Hsieh was performing excellently and Muguruza could not find an answer to the Taiwanese’s crafty style of play which helped her progress to the third round in Melbourne for the first time since 2008. She will now face former world number two Agnieszka Radwanska with the Spaniard blowing her biggest chance of returning to the top spot in the rankings.
Hsieh shocks the crowd
Muguruza had the brighter start into the match with Hsieh failing to handle the pressure early on. Playing in the biggest stadium of the tournament, the world number 88 looked shaky in her shots and got tight while serving, gifting the Spaniard with a break in the opening game. Targeting her opponent’s vulnerable second serves and redirecting the play well, Hsieh unexpectedly returned level before she simply fired on all cylinders.
Aiming for the lines and corners, Muguruza struggled to handle the variety of shots as Hsieh saved a break point to hold serve and then prevailed in yet another marathon game with an amazing forehand winner down-the-line. Consolidating the break, the Taiwanese broke through for an amazing 4-1 lead. The world number three soon found herself trailing 2-5 before she started to regain her composure, regaining the control of the proceedings to level the match.
Hsieh survived an incoming onslaught from Muguruza while serving at 5-5, and despite the lack of power on her shots, she made it up with her variety, slices, and angles which were a beauty to watch. This was the Spaniard’s first meeting with Hsieh, and her tactics were all over the place. Being surprisingly aggressive, Hsieh took a one-sided tiebreak 7-1 and sealed the first set after a marathon 66 minutes.
Hsieh closes out the huge upset
It was break points galore in the second set with neither of them being able to convert their chances, and everything was going wrong for Muguruza as a double-fault gifted Hsieh with the commanding lead. 43 unforced errors were certainly the Spaniard’s major downfall today as she failed to find the rhythm on her shots with the overwhelming heat being a huge factor as well. “I know the weather is going to be a little bit tough today because I hear weather going to be over 39 degrees. I was thinking, Ah, I'm from Asia. I maybe can handle it better than other girls,” mentioned Hsieh during her post-match press conference.
The upset looked to be complete when Muguruza threw in four errors to give Hsieh a double-break lead, placing her just one game away from the win. Closing out the win is always the most difficult part of the match, and it clearly reflected on the scoreboard when Muguruza threatened to mount the incredible comeback especially after lessening the deficit to just one game, fending off a match point in the process.
Merciless backhands from Hsieh allowed her to learn from the previous attempt at serving the match out, and this time, it just wasn’t meant to be for Muguruza as the world number three became the highest-ranked casualty of the tournament thus far. Her aggressive play was reflective on the statistic board, hitting 25 winners and just 23 errors throughout the lengthy two-hour contest, “I gonna try to don't let her destroy me on the court. So try to be aggressive, to get the first point going. I was going pretty good when I was hanging there.”