Tennis Prose



The Genius of Su-Wei Hsieh

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By Scoop Malinowski

Su-Wei Hsieh scored her second win against a world no. 1 today at Miami Open 46 76 64 over Naomi Osaka. She beat Simona Halep last year at Wimbledon.

Still with no official clothing, shoe or racquet sponsorship, the Taipei veteran displayed her magician skills to carve up and dismantle the world’s premier champion who has won the last two major titles.

Osaka was ahead a set and 5-3 but Hsieh saved her best for the most important moments. She defended Osaka’s power and redirected it to win key points. The resilient flower holding up through the storm.

At the end of the second set, seemingly with the contest under control, Osaka smiled after one point she lost, as if to relax herself or maybe it was to express that Hsieh was a fun player but the fun was about to end. No way did Osaka expect to lose this. No way did anyone expect the upset.

A featherweight is not supposed to beat a heavyweight. But Hsieh, as determined and willful as anyone in pro tennis, hung in there and won the tiebreaker with some surprising shots, from 3-4 down, snapping off four in a row. Osaka was dazed but surely expected to assert her dominance in the third set, as she did in Melbourne in January in her third round triumph over the same antagonist.

But either Hsieh is superior now or Osaka has declined since January with the addition of her new coach Jermaine Jenkins, who replaced the popular Sasha Bajin, the latter curiously dismissed two weeks after Naomi won the Australian Open.

Hsieh kept battling and believing and raised her level. Osaka did not. Or could not.

Yesterday, Osaka told the media why it’s so challenging to duel Hsieh on the tennis court. “She’s unpredictable. She can hit winners from anywhere it seems like. She has a slice, dropshot. Feels like she has everything. For me it’s tough to play her because I don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s that unpredictability that I think makes her play really well and beat all the top people.”

It was Hsieh who was doing the dictating at the end, running Osaka around the court back and forth. Only a very special marvel could toy with the  best player in the world, one twelve years younger than her 33 years of age.

Two doubles majors, number one in the world in doubles, 27 in the world in singles right now (her highest ranking since 23 in 2013), this magician continues to dazzle the world and confound rivals with her original style of tennis performance.

Next round Hsieh will take on a former world no. 1 Caroline Wozniacki, who she has lost to four times in four attempts. But Hsieh was 0-2 against Alison Riske, her previous round foe, and she dismissed Riske in straight sets.

One thing is for sure, will have a front row seat the Wozniacki vs Hsieh.


(Note: Hsieh did not do a post-match press conference because she is playing doubles with Strycova at 7:30 and she will talk to the media after. Her coach did interviews in the mixed zone a few minutes ago.)





  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 3:23 am

    I posted lower about Hsieh’s win and Scoop’s right, about her running around Osaka – at the end there was something funny about it – not being cruel but S-W really was toying with her.

    As I predicted Bianca bt Kerber, in 3, rolling over her in the last set 6-1 – amazing for a girl who’s had a bit of unfair scheduling in Miami. How much further can Bianca go ? Big talking point was Angie’s comment at the net: ‘You’re the biggest drama queen ever’. Don’t think she was joking either. Although the PR machine will probably try to pretend she was. Angie should go home and take a long look at herself in the mirror. And not the usual self-flattering gaze either. The way she collapses in 3rd sets (see Dubai) is more mental than physical. Signalling a malaise somewhere. I’m not getting into cod psychology but there’s a side to Angie which seldom shows itself and on occasion slips out and you see someone who’s very different from her cultivated public image on social media and publicity outings. As her career winds down she’s going to have to come to terms with a few things.

    (my office hours are 24/7 – all major cards accepted)

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 3:48 am

    I only saw highlights of this match but according to a couple of people who did see it (and are German speakers) Angie behaved oddly to her coach and others in her box. Shouted ‘go away’ to someone at one stage. In Dubai she called out Schuettler (twice) and then just ignored him. I’m beginning to think Fisette was well out of that one.

    (Halep and Georges were playing doubles – maybe to take Julia’s mind off her loss to Garcia 🙂 They make a good pair.)

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 6:22 am

    Apparently Angie had a few difficulties with ‘nerves’ early in her career, presumably when she was starting out, which I didn’t know but doesn’t surprise me. Maybe as she’s getting older and her future’s getting shorter that vulnerability is returning. She’s certainly sulking a lot more. I would guess the roots of some of her problems lie in the past.

    On the other hand both Borg and Federer had a reputation when they were young players but both got over it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 7:47 am

    Georges asked Halep to play doubles. Only third time in year simona played dubs.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 7:50 am

    How rare to see a world no. 1 get toyed with but Hsieh can do that. She even played doubles later and won 7575. Tiafoe survived kecmanovic and instantly cramped up right hamstring after match point. Hmmmmm.

  • Jg · March 24, 2019 at 8:45 am

    Apparently Tiafoe had a stomach issue, maybe dehydrated, didn’t look like he would last a third if it went that far.

  • Hartt · March 24, 2019 at 9:28 am

    Catherine, there is video of Kerber with the frostiest of handshakes and the “drama queen” comment. She won’t be able to pretend she didn’t mean it. She was simply a sore loser, and Bianca did not deserve that treatment.

    Bianca said she did not hear what Angie said, which is probably true, because Kerber had already turned away from her. “She said something, but I’m not sure what,” New York Times journalist Ben Rothenberg quoted her as saying. “I just didn’t say anything, whatever, I’m not trying to focus on that. I’ll just let my tennis talk.” ( Which is the perfect attitude to take.

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 10:54 am

    Hartt – yes, I think Bianca made the best and most tactful response, even if she did hear Angie’s comment, and she may have done. I’ve seen the videos (I’m not going to say they’ve gone ‘viral’) and Kerber’s handshake was barely worthy of the name, without the comment. Might be a surprise to her now to find herself unpopular, if only for an internet second.

    Not sure what’s wrong with Angie. A few years ago she would never have said anything like that. One of the reporters said she was ‘downcast’ after the match which isn’t surprising. Anyway, if she has an injury to her thigh it would make sense to have a break and get fit again. I think you said Bianca was having a couple of weeks off too, after Miami. She surely deserves it.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    jg, he was holding his right hamstring and he did look ill too. But he would have battled a third set had he lost. He’s a warrior.

  • Hartt · March 24, 2019 at 2:05 pm

    Today’s tennis news is full of stories about Angie’s “drama queen’ comment. She must realise what a mistake it was because she tweeted: “Tough battle out there last night @miamiopen! Congrats to Bianca @Bandreescu_ for a great performance and a well deserved win. ????”

    The “handshake” and comment certainly did not help her image.

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 2:13 pm

    Wang flattens Collins 7-5 6-1. Chinese tennis on a surge ?

  • catherine · March 24, 2019 at 2:37 pm

    Hartt – just saw your comment. Angie’s tweet is good PR but means nothing. She was probably put under pressure to write it – she very seldom tweets about her own losses. ‘Image’ was probably uppermost in her mind and in the mind of her agent. I imagine she was a little bit shocked by the blowback.

    But for honesty ? – what happened was a spontaneous expression of how she really felt and a good reflection of where she is at the moment. A lot going on there behind that bland blonde face she shows us most of the time.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Devastating loss for Kerber to lose again to a kid. No surprise she took a verbal cheap shot at Bianca. Devastating to lose to a kid twice in a row. Woodforde losing to young Hewitt. Mayotte losing to Sampras. Serena losing to Osaka. Cuevas losing to Felix.

  • Hartt · March 24, 2019 at 7:18 pm

    Félix just won in SS over Hurkacz, a tough opponent. FAA looked extremely happy afterwards. He will play Basilashvili next.

    FAA is now No. 46 in the live rankings, and would jump several more spots if he wins his next match.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 7:51 pm

    I was at Felix vs Hubert and it was very filled up and a high quality entertaining match. Hubert didn’t serve as well as vs Thiem and Felix was better from the baseline, just a little better. Some super tennis out there, Felix can do anything, his overheads and volleys were impressive. Hurkacz might be a real deal too.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 24, 2019 at 8:49 pm

    Regarding Kerber, does anyone think Kerber was disrespected by being placed on court SIX for her first match? Three time major champion, relegated to court six. Is that one of the worst court placements ever?

  • Hartt · March 25, 2019 at 12:48 am

    Scoop, I envy you seeing FAA vs Hubert live. I saw it on a computer screen, but it still was very enjoyable. Along with Félix’s volleys I especially enjoyed some of Hubi’s DTL winners – beautifully done.

  • catherine · March 25, 2019 at 3:30 am

    Scoop – I’ve heard some complaints about court placements this year in Miami but here I don’t think it was disrespectful to Kerber. She’s an experienced player and it shouldn’t matter which court she’s on. James Blake is first year in the job on a new site so there are bound to be some hiccups.

    I’ve also heard moans about the court being slow but I can’t tell from watching on a screen. Seems to me about the same as IW.

  • catherine · March 25, 2019 at 3:35 am

    I really feel for Kasatkina – she seems a nice person and was once a promising player but now she can’t win a match. She just parted from her coach and presumably is now doing a search for a new one.

  • catherine · March 25, 2019 at 5:22 am

    Out of curiosity I checked the WTA site for play by of Kerber/Andreescu match – as I expected you’d think the net exchange never happened:)

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 25, 2019 at 7:59 am

    Excellent match Harry, both impressed. And large crowd there too. Quality hard fought win for the prince.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 25, 2019 at 8:05 am

    Putintseva said the courts feel slow which she likes. Blake in second year as td.

  • Scoop Malinowski · March 25, 2019 at 8:08 am

    No word from wta either on Kerber momentary tirade after the match with small media either. Lots of things get broomed under.



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