Top Seed Shuai Zhang Avoids Upset Fever
American Amanda Anisimova, this year’s U.S. Open Girls Champion, rolls past the second seed at Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park
Waipahu, HI, Nov. 21, 2017 – With one dominant exception, Tuesday was a tough day to be a seeded player at the Hawaii Open, presented by the Hawaii Tourism Authority.
Top-seeded Shuai Zhang, from China, needed just 47 minutes to score a 6-1, 6-0 victory over Taysia Rogers, a 17-year old from Texas who received a wild card for this WTA 125K Series stop.
That kind of quick work continued as the second day wore on at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park tennis courts, but the seeded players would be on the short end.
Amanada Anisimova, a 16-year-old who lives in Miami, upset second-seeded Su-Wei Hsieh, 6-0, 6-1 in just 46 minutes. Anisimova is the reigning U.S. Open Girls Champion and a high school junior. Hsieh, 31, has won nearly $5 million in her career, with a pair of WTA singles titles and 18 doubles championships. She is the first player from Taipei to be ranked No. 1 in the world and win a grand slam title, both in doubles.
At the same time, over on Court 1, Russia’s Vitalia Diatchenko was ousting fifth-seeded Risa Ozaki, 6-1, 6-0. Diatchenko won a WTA 125K Series event three years ago in Taipei and played on the Russian Fed Cup team the following year. Ozaki played on Japan’s Fed Cup team in 2014.
The upsets came on the heels of a Monday night surprise by Allie Kiick, another American wild card. She defeated eighth-seeded Xinyun Han, 7-5, 6-4, to continue a remarkable comeback.
Kiick, the 22-year-old daughter of former Miami Dolphin Jim Kiick, qualified for her first U.S. Open since 2013 this year. In between she has had mono, four knee surgeries and gone through cancer treatments for a melanoma found on her back. She spent two years healing and training with U.S. Fed Cup coach Kathy Rinaldi.
Qualifier Claire Liu, this year’s French Open Girls Champion, could not follow in Anisimova’s footsteps. She fell to fellow American Danielle Lao, 6-4, 6-4, in a match that lasted nearly 2 hours. Lao will take on Ajla Tomljanvoic in the second round.
Asia Muhammad, another American, fell to seventh-seeded Misaki Doi 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), in a match that lasted 2 hours and 40 minutes.
Zhang avoided any hint of upset. She needed seven minutes to win the first three games against an obviously nervous Rogers. The rallies grew longer and Rogers’ serve climbed into triple digits as the match wore on, but Zhang was never in trouble.
“I’m so happy to come back here,” said Zhang, who fell to another American 17-year old — CiCi Bellis — in the final of last year’s inaugural Hawaii Open. “I have good memories of last year and I played really well today. . . . I really want to win this tournament.”
Doubles matches continue Tuesday night, with that final Saturday at 6 p.m. The singles final is 2 p.m. Sunday. Second-round matches begin today at 10 a.m.
Tennis Channel and Fox Sports Asia will have more than 100 hours of live TV coverage from the Hawaii Open this week.
For more information about the 2017 Hawaii Open, updated scores and schedules, and to purchase tickets, visit www.hawaiitennisopen.com. Follow the Hawaii Open on Facebook @HawaiiTennisOpen.
The media is encouraged to attend. Photos can be obtained by request and media credentials are available by calling 808-304-9047.