WUHAN, China - For the second time this season, Hsieh Su-wei scored a victory over former World No. 1 Caroline Wozniacki in the first round of the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Opwn, 6-7(2), 6-1, 6-2.
Fresh off a runner-up finish in doubles at the Toray Pan Pacific Open on Sunday with her sister Yu-chieh, Hsieh bounced back from a slow start to score a three-set win over the former Australian Open champion.
From 5-1 down in the opening set, Hsieh nearly came all the way back to win the opener, but found herself over the course of the second and third sets to lose just three games.
The World No. 32 saved two set points, breaking Wozniacki from 40-15 down at 5-1, as she won four straight games, but lost seven of the last eight points in the tiebreak to battle back anyway.
"The first set was not easy, because I just came from Osaka. I lost early so I was not preparing for singles too much, because I was in the doubles with my sister," Hsieh told WTA Insider after the match.
"When I came on the court...I was a little bit lost, and she was playing good as well. I asked my coach to come on the court and I said, 'Okay, I don't feel anything. I feel weird.' And he said, 'It's okay, just try to play,' and I did.
"I tried to keep playing and after a couple of games, it was going better and better."
— WTA (@WTA) September 23, 2019
The turning point came at 1-1 in the second set, as Hsieh saved two break points to keep a slim lead, which was her first on the scoreboard over the first hour of play.
That crucial hold kicked off a run of nine straight games for the 33-year-old, which not only gave her the second set, but earned her a 4-0 lead in the final set.
"Since the first set when I was 1-5 down and I picked up one or two games, I was feeling more rhythm," Hsieh added. "Normally, when losing by a lot, I feel more free on the court. I knew the match could go very fast, so I kept trying.
"I tried to not get crazy with losing on the court. Sometimes, when you don't get rhythm, and the other girl is really good, it can go really fast because after a few games, you feel like you want to cry on the court.
"I was a little bit upset, but not totally gone, so it was very good what I tried to do."
— WTA (@WTA) September 23, 2019
Hsieh never lost serve over the course of the second and third sets, as she saved all three break points she faced in the second set, and lost just four points across four service games in the decider.
In a high-quality two hours and four minutes, Hsieh racked up 39 winners to just 28 unforced errors, as Wozniacki totaled 25 winners to 28 unforced.
Up next, Hsieh will look to score a victory over another former major winner in Svetlana Kuznetsova. The two-time Grand Slam champion, who qualified in the main draw in Wuhan, advanced to the second round when Yulia Putintseva retired with a left ankle injury while trailing, 6-1, 1-0.
"Definitely it's not going to be an easy match," Hsieh said, "so I need to try to play good. "I hope the fans will cheer louder for me."
Kuznetsova owns a 2-0 head-to-head record against Hsieh, but the pair have not played in nearly six years, with both of the Russian's victories coming in 2013.