MELBOURNE, Australia - Top seeds Hsieh Su-Wei and Barbora Strycova faced a stern test on their way to the quarterfinals at the Australian Open, edging past the unseeded Darija Jurak and Nina Stojanovic in straight sets to advance.
The reigning Wimbledon champions combined for 25 winners and broke their opponents four times to record a 6-4, 6-4 victory.
Hsieh and Strycova made the perfect start on Margaret Court Arena, getting ahead to an early break and a 2-1 lead. But their unseeded opponents took advantage of a lapse in concentration to split Hsieh and Strycova with smart putaways, eventually breaking Strycova to make it 3-3.
But the Czech quickly redeemed herself, the top seeds getting the break back at 5-4 as Strycova served it out with confidence.
Hsieh and Strycova couldn’t relax in the second set as the two teams traded breaks, with Jurak and Stojanovic breaking back at 3-3 to erase the top seed’s lead. But Hsieh and Strycova pulled ahead a game later, breaking again at 4-3 and consolidating to 5-3.
Stojanovic and Jurak kept Hsieh - who was serving for the match into the high noon sun - under pressure in the final game, creating two break points and taking Hsieh to deuce five times. The pair saved three match points, but Hsieh wouldn’t be denied on a fourth, booking their spot into the quarterfinals.
Also in action, No.6 seeds Gabriela Dabrowski and Jelena Ostapenko also had to weather a major challenge against American Hayley Carter and Brazil’s Luisa Stefani on their way to the quarterfinals.
The Canadian-Latvian duo trailed by a break in the opening set, before coming back to win five games in a row and take it 6-4. But they were in trouble again after dropping the second set 1-6, and they trailed by a break for much of the deciding set. They found another gear late in the set, breaking back at 4-4 and reeling off the last four games to win, 6-4, 1-6, 6-4.