Sports

Hsieh, Mertens unleash ‘the dragon’ in Indian Wells

Hsieh Su-Wei and Elise Mertens are protecting the BNP Paribas Open title within the household. The No.2 seeds misplaced just one set en path to their second workforce title, defeating Veronika Kudermetova and Elena Rybakina, 7-6(1), 6-3 within the closing. Together with a Wimbledon title 4 months in the past, Hsieh and Mertens’ success within the California desert additionally sealed their qualifying spot for the Akron WTA Finals in Guadalajara. 

Match report: No.2 seeds Hsieh/Mertens defeat Kudermetova/Rybakina to win Indian Wells

Hsieh and Mertens have gained the previous two Indian Wells titles, however with totally different companions. Mertens gained in 2019 with Aryna Sabalenka, and Hsieh gained in 2018 with Barbora Strycova. The workforce went by way of a tricky draw, securing wins over No.3 seeds Shuko Aoyama and Ena Shibahara, together with navigating previous a slew of gifted duos in Bethania Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek, and Coco Gauff and Leyla Fernandez.

The keys to Hsieh and Mertens’ event? A back-from-the-brink win from a set and 1-4 right down to Mattek-Sands and Swiatek within the Spherical of 16 and … a dragon hat.

“That is from the physio room,” Hsieh informed the followers after their quarterfinal win. “They have been serving to us the entire yr. They’re working so onerous. They offer me this yesterday. The lady was carrying this, it was her birthday. She request and I assumed ‘Okay, I will do it.'”

As is the perfect plan of action when paired with the all the time surprising Hsieh, Mertens simply went with it.

“Earlier than the quarterfinals, I got here exterior and she or he was leaping round,” Mertens stated. “What is that this? With the dragon hat on. I’ve to snort so onerous. However earlier than the quarterfinals, it form of offers you a large number to calm down about.”

Hsieh and Mertens sat down with WTA Insider after their title run to speak about their week within the California desert and have fun their impending qualification for the WTA Finals. 

Hsieh and Mertens win 2nd workforce doubles title: Indian Wells Highlights

2021 Indian Wells

WTA Insider: How a lot was qualifying for the WTA Finals in your thoughts this week?

Mertens: Nicely for me, I do not actually have a look at it. You have been it possibly.
Hsieh: I used to be fascinated about Charlize Theron’s fragrance video. She walks like this [imitates exaggerated catwalk walk].
Mertens: So you are going to try this for the finals once we go up?
Hsieh: No, no. I used to be considering that I undoubtedly have to go to Mexico as a result of I’ve by no means been there. I wasn’t actually counting the factors, however I used to be considering I have to attempt to make it. If I do not make it, then I would like to seek out one other event to attempt to make one other workforce not make it after which we make it. There was Plan A, Plan B, Plan C.
Mertens: However Plan A was sufficient. I simply attempt to give attention to the tournaments. Should you do effectively, you may get the factors. However I knew that we have been within the fourth place earlier than, however I am not likely into counting. It makes it too difficult. I used to be specializing in the tennis itself.

WTA Insider: From the beginning of the season to now, what has been the evolution of your partnership? What are the changes that you simply needed to make to play effectively collectively?

Hsieh: The start was a bit bit complicated as a result of we switched companions, and I do not know the way a lot I can discuss in regards to the sport, so I stayed a bit bit quiet, see what is going on on.

Now we performed extra matches and we talked extra. Now we all know one another rather more, how we will transfer, how we will cowl one another. It is going higher and higher. 

WTA Insider: How about you, Elise? Had been there any key tactical modifications assist your workforce to gel?

Mertens: Nicely I am not going to inform any secrets and techniques.
Hsieh: Oh! I do know one: “Elise! Run!”
Mertens: Yeah, she all the time tells me to run to all the things [laughs].

However I feel if I hold good stress, she’s a magician on the internet. She will be able to do her factor and she or he’s superb. 

WTA Insider: Within the Spherical of 16, you got here again from a set and 1-4 right down to defeat Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Iga Swiatek, 1-6, 6-4, 10-8. You did not lose a set after that. What was the important thing to turning that match round?

Hsieh: It’s totally unusual as a result of throughout the observe, it was possibly my greatest observe of the yr. I used to be hitting each shot within the courtroom. I stated, “Oh! I am getting so significantly better! Right now I can do good baseline!” After which after I went on the courtroom I used to be lacking from the road, another, two extra, three extra. I used to be like, “Okay, I used to be hitting the ball actually good and I’ll hold making an attempt.” After which Elise stated, “OK, you need to step again.”
Mertens: There was plenty of wind. At observe, there was no wind after which two hours later there was plenty of wind. So it was totally different.
Hsieh: The secret is nonetheless Elise.
Mertens: No, I am not the important thing.
Hsieh: Key!
Mertens: I am not the important thing (laughs).

WTA Insider: What’s the most satisfying factor about this title for you?

Mertens: At Wimbledon we had an enormous one, so to win one other massive one collectively may be very particular. And due to that second spherical, we turned it round, and we are able to do it and nonetheless win that match. Having a really robust draw and getting the win offers you plenty of satisfaction. The teamwork we did this week and all these weeks, we truly did plenty of doubles observe, which I by no means do. You get to know one another quite a bit and I simply suppose it clicked this week. 

WTA Insider: Su-Wei, we all know how a lot you like to journey and eat native cuisines. You are an enormous foodie. Now that you have certified for Guadalajara, is there something specifically that you are looking ahead to?

Hsieh: I’ve by no means been, so if any of you guys have good concepts, message me on IG or Fb. 

WTA Insider: Now that you have certified, is the plan to relaxation till Guadalajara?

Mertens: For me, I will take every week off and see from there. I will undoubtedly play Billie Jean King Cup and the Finals. We nonetheless have a couple of weeks go. 
Hsieh: I need to go house however there is a quarantine so I’ll wait a bit bit as a result of two weeks of quarantine and one week of soppy management would not look very enjoyable. And you must keep in a lodge. So I’ll keep in Paris and observe, prepare, and look ahead to Elise to return to Mexico. 

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