40 LOVE History: Chinese Taipei
Published November 10, 2013 12:00
TAIPEI, Chinese Taipei - Hsieh Su-Wei is Chinese Taipei's shining star in the world of women's tennis, but there have been some before her who have shone too - and it all started back in the '90s.
Wang Shi-Ting was the first player from Chinese Taipei to win a WTA title, achieving the feat six times in the 1990s - Hong Kong and Taipei in 1993, Taipei in 1994, Surabaya in 1995, Surabaya and Beijing in 1996. She would make it all the way to No.26 in the world, a record that would stand for a while...
Fast forward to 2007, when two players from Chinese Taipei - Chan Yung-Jan and Chuang Chia-Jung - would raise the bar, but in a different discipline. With fantastic net play and team chemistry, they made shock runs to the doubles finals at the Australian and US Opens that year - though they were runners-up both times, to Cara Black and Liezel Huber in Melbourne and Nathalie Dechy and Dinara Safina in New York, they were the first players from Chinese Taipei ever to reach a Grand Slam final of any kind.
Chan repeated the feat in mixed doubles at the Australian Open in 2011 - finishing runner-up there too.
But along came Hsieh, who - after years of lurking as one of the trickest players on the tour in both singles and doubles - has made some major breakthroughs over the last two years. She made her move in singles in 2012, winning her first two WTA titles at Kuala Lumpur and Guangzhou - only the second player from Chinese Taipei ever to win a WTA title, after the aforementioned Wang. And in early 2013 she got to No.23 in the individual discipline, the new record for Chinese Taipei.
Hsieh has excelled in doubles in 2013, winning five WTA doubles titles alongside China's Peng Shuai, including Wimbledon - the first player from Chinese Taipei ever to win a Grand Slam title of any kind.
And it won't be too long before talk of Hsieh becoming the World No.1 doubles player gets louder - right now she is No.3 behind co-World No.1s Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci, but during the upcoming Australian season she only has 315 points to defend - a quarterfinal finish in Shenzhen and a third round showing at the Australian Open. Errani and Vinci are defending 2520 points in the Aussie swing, a difference of 2205 points - Hsieh is just 265 points behind the Italians. Keep an eye on Australia...
There will be more to come, too - with Hsieh going strong, Chan Yung-Jan trying to work her way back up the ranks, her younger sister Chan Hao-Ching currently in the Top 30 in doubles and other names like Chang Kai-Chen, Chan Chin-Wei and more in the wings, Chinese Taipei's future is in good hands.