KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia - On Thursday afternoon, Hsieh Su-Wei finally won her first round match at the BMW Malaysian Open after a two-day battle with Kurumi Nara and the weather. Four hours later she was back on court to defeat Zhang Shuai and reach the quarterfinals.
Twelve months ago, Hsieh chose the the Dusit Thani Hotel as the venue for her WTA coming out party, negotiating her way past two rounds of qualifying - and two seeds - en route to her first singles title. And the achievements did not stop there; she picked up another title in Guangzhou before finishing the year inside the Top 30 for the first time.
However, success has proven harder to come by in 2013. Hsieh arrived in Malaysia with just four wins to her name and after frittering away a 5-3 lead - and two set points - upon the resumption of her match with Nara, this miserable run looked set to continue.
The No.2 seed was belatedly jolted into life at the start of the second, responding to an opening game service break by reeling off 11 of the next 13 games to take the set and a stranglehold of the match.
This mid-match surge proved enough to take Hsieh over the line, although not before Nara had reduced her arrears from 5-0 to 5-4 and saved eight match points.
The 67(5) 63 64 win booked a second round with Zhang in the day's final match on Centre Court. Despite her earlier exertions, Hsieh looked one step ahead throughout, eventually running out a surprisingly comfortable 62 62 winner.
"It was a taxing day as I played tennis for over three hours," Hsieh said. "I need a good rest to be ready for my quarterfinal match. The first match was tough and I struggled with my movement but I felt much more comfortable against Zhang,"
Hsieh will now face wildcard Bethanie Mattek-Sands, who defeated Duan Ying-Ying, 61 64.