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Taiwan's Hsieh through to third round at Wimbledon

LONDON -- Taiwanese tennis player Hsieh Su-wei beat France's Stephanie Foretz Gacon in straight sets 6-4, 6-1 in the second round of the women's singles at Wimbledon Wednesday.

Hsieh, currently ranked 63rd in the world, not only put in her best singles performance at Wimbledon, but also became the first Taiwanese woman to get to the final 32 in the singles category of the prestigious tournament.

Hsieh took a 3-1 lead after breaking Gacon's serve in the fourth game, which took the two into a service-breaking contest.

She then failed to convert two set points in the 9th game, but a judicious dropshot in the 10th gave her the first set.

Hsieh had racked up a 2-1 lead in the second set before the match was disrupted for three hours due to rain.

After the match resumed, Hsieh dominated play to beat 75th-ranked Gacon by winning four straight games.

Hsieh will next face the winner of a face-off between Maria Sharapova of Russia and Tsvetana Pironkova of Bulgaria.

In an interview with CNA after her victory, Hsieh said she “was proud of and excited about her performance in a field of strong competitors.”

Hsieh also said she was not content to just enter the final 32 and will strive for an even better performance.

Hsieh is making her fourth appearance in the women's singles at Wimbledon — her first since 2008, when she made it to the second round.

She said she found it difficult to concentrate at the start of the match and that after the second set was disrupted because of the rain, she went to the gym to calm herself down.

Hsieh also said she was excited about representing Taiwan in the women's singles and doubles at the London Games because it shows that her efforts over the past year have borne fruit.

“Wimbledon is a forerunner for the London Olympic Games and a major competition. My performance here has strengthened my faith in how I will do in the London Games,” she said.

The 26-year-old won the BMW Malaysian Open in March and the AEGON Classic Doubles title in Birmingham, England earlier this month.

Asked about her rapid progress over the past year, Hsieh said she suffered a double blow last year in the breakdown of a friendship and a romantic relationship, and decided to concentrate her mind on her game.

She also hired Australian Paul McNamee, a retired Australian tennis player and prominent sports administrator, as her coach.

She said that while he is expensive — about NT$450,000 (US$15,000) per month — he has not only taught her to play better but has also instructed her in the power of positive thinking, as well as arranging matches for her.

Her Wednesday match drew a lot of Taiwanese fans to cheer her on, among them extreme marathon runner Tommy Chen, who is in London to take part in the London 2012 Olympic Torch Relay.

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Hsieh Su-Wei, of Taiwan, returns a shot to Stephanie Foretz Gacon, of France, during a second round women's singles match at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England, Wednesday, June 27. (AP)

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