Taiwan’s Chuang Chia-jung, who has been unable to sustain her top 10 doubles ranking playing with a variety of partners after splitting with compatriot Chan Yung-jan, seems to have found a good fit with India’s Sania Mirza.
One week after the duo reached the semi-finals of women’s doubles at the Sony Ericsson Open, Chuang and Mirza reached the finals of the MPS Group Championships in Florida by defeating Liga Dekmeijere of Latvia and Angela Haynes of the US 6-4, 6-3 in Saturday’s semis.
In the final of the clay court event yesterday, Chuang and Mirza were to face top seeds Czech Kveta Peschke and American Lisa Raymond, the same duo that knocked them out at the Sony Ericsson Open in two tight sets.
Chuang was ranked as high as No. 5 in the world in doubles during her nearly 20-month collaboration with Chan, which ended at last year’s US Open after a failed bid for an Olympic medal at the Beijing Summer Olympics last year.
Her ranking has fallen since the split, but Chuang is now back up to No. 17 in the world and could move up another two slots if she and Mirza capture the MPS Group Championships title.
In singles play, Fifth-seeded Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak upset top-seeded Russian Nadia Petrova 6-4, 4-6, 6-2 to reach the finals.
Wozniak advanced to a meeting with second-seeded Caroline Wozniacki of Denmark, who beat Russia’s Elena Vesnina in the second semi-final 2-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7/4).
■US MEN’S CLAY COURT
Lleyton Hewitt of Australia reached his first clay court final in a decade with a 7-6 (4), 6-4 victory over Evgeny Korolev of Russia at the US Men’s Clay Court Championships on Saturday.
The former No. 1 player, who has won 26 titles, was to meet first-time finalist Wayne Odesnik of the US yesterday.
Odesnik beat Germany’s Bjorn Phau 6-4, 6-3 in their semi-final.
Hewitt won his 498th career match, moving him closer to joining Roger Federer and Carlos Moya as the only active players with 500 wins. A victory yesterday would give Hewitt his first title on clay since Delray Beach in 1999.
Odesnik will be trying to become the first American to win a clay court event since 2006 when Mardy Fish won in Houston.
AFP, MARBELLA, SPAIN
Spanish fifth seed Carla Suarez Navarro was set to stand in the way of Serbian favorite and second seed Jelena Jankovic in yesterday’s final of the US$500,000 WTA Andalucia Tennis Experience claycourt tournament after both showed their form with semi-final wins.
Jankovic was barely troubled as she ended the dreams of Spanish fourth seed Anabel Medina Garrigues 7-5, 6-2, while Suarez Navarro had to go the full distance before seeing off Romanian seventh seed Sorana Cirstea 6-2, 6-7 (5/7), 6-2.
Canary Islander Suarez Navarro, 20 and a quarter-finalist in the Australian and French Opens in the past year, won through in 2 hours, 42 minutes after quickly righting herself following a second set tiebreak loss.
AFP, CASABLANCA, MOROCCO
Spain’s former world No. 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero reached his first final in 15 months on Saturday when he defeated top seeded Russian Igor Andreev 7-6 (11/9), 6-3 in the Casablanca ATP claycourt tournament semi-finals. Victory also took the unseeded Ferrero to within four wins of the 400-match win career mark.
In Sunday’s final, Ferrero, without a title in over five years, will tackle French fifth seed Florent Serra, who enjoyed a 6-4, 6-4 victory over third-seeded Spaniard Albert Montanes.