LONDON • Chinese Taipei's Hsieh Su-wei produced the biggest win of her career to defeat world No. 1 Simona Halep in the third round of Wimbledon yesterday.
She prevailed 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 on a baking Court One as the All England Club seeds' carnage claimed another victim.
Defeat for the French Open champion means that Karolina Pliskova, at No. 7, is the only women's top 10 seed to reach the fourth round. It also further boosted Serena Williams' chances of becoming an eight-time Wimbledon champion.
Hsieh, the world No. 48, battled back from 5-2 down in the final set and saved a match point when the Romanian served for the match at 5-3 in the decider.
The unseeded Hsieh earned her first appearance in the last 16 at Wimbledon, where she will face Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia for a place in the quarter-finals.
"It's my first win against a world No. 1," said 32-year-old. "She played amazing, I had to run and fight for every point. I tried to concentrate on my game and calm down a bit, that helped a lot.
"There was a lot of support from outside that pushed me and I kept fighting."
DAY 6 SELECTED RESULTS
3rd rd: Milos Raonic (Can) bt Dennis Novak (Aut) 7-6 (7-5) 4-6 7-5 6-2, Juan Martin del Potro (Arg) bt Benoit Paire (Fra) 6-4 7-6 (7-4) 6-3, Rafael Nadal (Esp) bt Alex de Minaur (Aus) 6-1 6-2 6-4.
3rd rd: Alison van Uytvanck (Bel) bt Anett Kontaveit (Est) 6-2 6-3, Darya Kasatkina (Rus) bt Ashleigh Barty (Aus) 7-5 6-3, Hsieh Su-wei (Tpe) bt Simona Halep (Rom) 3-6 6-4 7-5, Carla Suarez-Navarro (Esp) bt Belinda Bencic (Sui) 6-1 7-6 (7-3), Jelena Ostapenko (Lat) bt Vitalia Diatchenko (Rus) 6-0 6-4.
In a sport often dominated by baseline bashers, Hsieh brought so much more to the party. Cunning drop shots, often played with two hands on the racket, delicate slices and laser-like flat groundstrokes kept Halep continually off balance.
Halep simply ran out of ideas at the end of an absorbing 2hr 20min duel full of spellbinding rallies and shots that are not found in coaching manuals.
Hsieh's serve is hardly a weapon - her second serves often crawling over the net on a day when she was she was broken seven times.
But she battled back from 0-30 and 15-40 in the final game to deuce and then closed it out as a weary-looking Halep dumped consecutive forehands into the net.
The Romanian finished with 29 winners and 31 unforced errors. She is the first women's top seed to lose to an unseeded player at Wimbledon since Ana Ivanovic lost to China's Zheng Jie 10 years ago, also after winning the French Open.
Hsieh had 26 winners against 36 unforced errors. It was only the third time Hsieh had beaten a player ranked in the top 10 although she tamed Spain's Garbine Muguruza at this year's Australian Open, where she also enjoyed a memorable run.
"This year I have tried to enjoy more, not just tennis but life, food, strawberries and cream, lobster," said the 2013 Wimbledon doubles champion. "I am really enjoying playing tennis."
Two-time champion Rafael Nadal reached the last 16 for the eighth time and made sure of keeping his world No. 1 ranking.
The second seed comfortably defeated Australian teenager Alex de Minaur 6-1, 6-2, 6-4.
Nadal, the 11-time French Open champion and bidding for an 18th career major, will face either Italy's Fabio Fognini or Jiri Vesely of the Czech Republic for a place in the quarter-finals.
"It was a positive match against a player with a lot of energy," said the 2008 and 2010 champion. "I am just happy to be in the fourth round again."
Nadal, with Spain out of the World Cup, was heading to watch England play Sweden. He had obviously captured the national mood.
"I'll go and watch some football - England, it's coming home or not?" he said in reference to a football song which is being sung, hummed and whistled on almost every street and in every pub.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS