Published: Wed, July 11, 2018
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Beaten Halep bemoans grass-court struggles

Beaten Halep bemoans grass-court struggles

Del Potro pushed Novak Djokovic all the way in one of Wimbledon's most memorable semi-finals five years ago before his career was almost ruined by wrist problems, but he appears back to his best.

World No.1 Simona Halep was stunned by Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei 6-3, 4-6, 5-7 in the third round of women's singles, becoming the ninth of the top 10 seeded players to crash out of the tournament in the incredible first week.

Former world No 1 Novak Djokovic stepped up his title bid with a 4-6 6-3 6-2 6-4 win over home favourite Kyle Edmund. At Roland Garros last month, though, the 26-year-old finally went one better and earned her first Slam.

A former world No. 1 in doubles and the 2013 Wimbledon doubles champ, the 32-year-old is the first Taiwanese player, male or female, to break into the top 25 in the singles rankings and the first to hold the top ranking in doubles.

Kei Nishikori equaled his best Wimbledon performance as he advanced to the fourth round by beating Nick Kyrgios 6-1, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

"She deserved to win", added the Romanian.

"A positive match against a player with a lot of energy, some tough moments", the world No.1 told the BBC.

"I didn't think I could win after losing the third set, but he got exhausted and I played smarter".

Defeat for Halep means that Karolina Pliskova, at number seven, is the only women's top 10 seed to reach the fourth round.

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The draw opened up for these young pretenders when only two of the top eight women's seeds reached the third round, a record in the Open era.

Halep, fresh from her French Open triumph, lost the last five games in a 3-6 6-4 7-5 defeat after two hours and 20 minutes on Court One.

Hsieh will play the 2014 Australian Open runner-up Dominika Cibulkova on July 9 at 6.30 p.m. Taipei time, with the victor moving through to the quarter finals.

Halep had a match point with Hsieh serving at 4-5 in the third set, but Hsieh fended it off by leaning into a darting backhand down the line. Increasingly, it looks like an opportunity for Williams to get back to where she had left off on Wimbledon's lawns. "I accept that it was an unprofessional attitude today".

And she apparently enjoys the spotlight, because all three of her career victories over top-10 opponents came at the Australian Open (two-time major champion Garbine Muguruza), French Open (2017 Wimbledon semifinalist Johanna Konta) and, now, Wimbledon.

However, after losing to Hsieh, Halep said: "It's always a big challenge to play on a grass court".

Djokovic was robbed of a break at 3-3 in the fourth set when the ball bounced twice before Edmund managed to return it over the net at 15-40.

But the Serb managed to refocus after a lengthy complaint to umpire Jake Garner.

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