MIAMI (AFP) – Naomi Osaka crashed out in the third round of the WTA and ATP Miami Open on Saturday (March 23), as Hsieh Su-wei exacted revenge for a painful Australian Open defeat with a 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 victory.
Tennis’ world No. 1 Osaka had looked in little danger after winning the first set and moving a break ahead in the second.
But Taiwanese Hsieh, who was a set and 4-1 up in Melbourne earlier this year before losing to the Japanese star in the third round, battled superbly.
“This was a very emotional win for me,” said Hsieh, whose 39 winners were one less than her opponent. “Any time you beat one of the top players it is amazing.”
Osaka was coming off a fourth-round exit at Indian Wells, but Hsieh’s coach said her victory wasn’t all that surprising.
“She has enough experience to stay strong and you saw that,” French coach Frederic Aniere, who has worked with Hsieh for the last two years and is also her boyfriend, told AFP.
“Yes it’s huge, but for her it’s not a big surprise.”
The 33-year-old Hsieh will play Caroline Wozniacki, who has been plagued by injuries, in the fourth round of the women’s draw, which now looks wide open following Osaka’s defeat and former world No. 1 Serena Williams’ surprise exit with a left knee injury.
The 23-time Grand Slam singles champion’s pullout came a day after she beat Sweden’s Rebecca Peterson in three sets to reach the third round.
“I am disappointed to withdraw from the Miami Open due to a left knee injury,” said Williams, an eight-time winner in Miami who has completed just seven matches this year.
The 37-year-old superstar, now ranked 10th in the world, appeared to be moving freely against Peterson, but said she needed to play better than she did in a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 win.
She had been scheduled to face 18th-seeded Wang Qiang, who advances to the fourth round by walkover.
Williams fell in a three-set battle with Czech Karolina Pliskova in the quarter-finals of the Australian Open in January.
In her first tournament since then, at Indian Wells this month, she defeated former world No. 1 Victoria Azarenka in her opening match but then retired while trailing against another former No. 1, Garbine Muguruza, with a viral illness.