Su-Wei Hsieh claimed a stunning comeback against fourth seed Karolina Pliskova to win 6-4 1-6 7-5 and reach the semi-finals of the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Thursday. Her victory came a day after she had beaten fifth seed Angelique Kerber.
The 2015 finalist had recovered well from losing the opening set by surrendering the last 11 points, easily winning the second set and then speeding to a 5-1 lead in the third. But she was unable to close out the match. The epic battle recalled their only previous meeting, in Miami last season, when Hsieh recovered from 3-5 to take the final set to a tiebreak, saving six match points before Pliskova claimed the tightest of victories.
Hsieh’s aim was to make the score look more respectable, and she clearly exceeded her expectations.
“You know, she serve really big. She make almost ace every game. It was not easy to come back,” she said after reaching the biggest semi-final of her career. “I say myself, I say, ‘Okay, if she not ace me, I hit ball, hit so much harder than before, then she cannot hit winner. I have chance to win little bit more games, then the score don’t look too bad’.”
Pliskova admitted she was tired, but also that she had relaxed too much and thought the job was done.
“Maybe I start to be a little bit more passive. I thought is already done the match because it looked like,” said Pliskova. “She just started to play well. I didn’t do anything that wrong in the end. Of course, I could do better. I think she just played well in the end, just went for her shots. It’s tough to play her. I don’t like to play her. I don’t know if there is somebody who likes to play her.”
Her opponent in the semi-finals will be Petra Kvitova, who swept aside Viktoria Kuzmova 6-4 6-0 in just 62 minutes. The swift victory was welcome after two lengthy three-set battles this week.
“I am pleased. Definitely more than those two matches before,” said Kvitova. “I didn’t give her any, like, time to do her job, maybe turn the match on her way.”
“Su-Wei Hsieh produced the biggest upset at Wimbledon last year when she defeated the world No. 1, Simona Halep, and she had proved again that she presents a difficult hurdle for even the very best. We congratulate her on another magnificent victory,” said Colm McLoughlin, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO of Dubai Duty Free.
Tournament Director Salah Tahlak added, “Su-Wei Hsieh with her unique and unpredictable style has long been an opponent that no-one likes to face, and her place in the semi-finals is well-deserved. There is no doubt that Petra Kvitova will be taking her very seriously when they meet on Friday.”