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Holders Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai fall short

Peng Shuai and Su-Wei Hsieh on Day Eight
by William Denny
Wednesday 2 July 2014

Defending Wimbledon champions Su-Wei Hsieh and Peng Shuai suffered a shock defeat to Timea Babos and Kristina Mladenovic 6-4, 6-7(5), 2-6 as their quest for a third Grand Slam title was halted on No.3 Court.

The reigning Roland Garros winners, who have appeared at the quarter-final stage at every Grand Slam, admitted there was additional pressure playing as No.1 seeds at the All England Club. “Of course we play under pressure,” said Shuai. “Since we get here after the French Open everybody is talking about are we going to be the champions? There is big pressure, it is not easy but we cannot take away from that.”

It looked to be business as usual for the top seeds after they raced into a one-set lead just after the half hour mark. With a break of serve apiece they struck emphatically in the 10th game, capitalising on weary serving from their opponents with accurate returns and clinical volleying.

Yet the Hungarian-French pair, appearing in only their fifth doubles event, struck back in the second set clinching a decisive break in the third game. But the Chinese duo (Hsieh Su-Wei of Chinese Taipei), who have won 12 titles together, saved two set points before forcing a tie-break. The No.14 seeds showed they too have Grand Slam experience (Mladenovic won the mixed doubles title at Wimbledon last year) as Shuai’s forehand fired long.

Babos and Mladenovic, who have only recorded one win against a pairing ranked inside the top 20, produced a ruthless display in the deciding set to deliver an abrupt end to an eight-match winning streak for the pre-tournament favourites. “On the grass actually they are two of the big servers and they play well,” said Hsieh. “It is really close two sets and in the final set they still played good and we tried but it was not enough.”

French Open finalists Sara Errani and Roberta Vinci gathered further momentum as they pursue their fifth Grand Slam title and their first at Wimbledon with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Shuko Aoyama and Renata Voracova on No.2 Court. The No.2 seeds were forced hard in the first set, cancelling out an early break with two of their own. After closing out the opening set in 55 minutes, the reigning French Open champions asserted themselves onto the match with slick, evasive strokes getting the better of their unseeded opponents.

Completing the ladies' doubles third round draw are No.11 seeds Alla Kudryavtseva and Anastasia Rodionova who beat American pair Raquel Kops-Jones and Abigail Spears 7-5, 6-4 while Andrea Petkovic and Magdalena Rybarikova also progressed.

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