Sat, Nov 03, 2012 - Page 20 News List

OEC: Chang Kai-chen breezes into semi-finals in Taipei

LOCAL FAVORITE:The victory leaves Chang only two wins away from becoming the first Taiwanese singles champion at the Taipei Arena since Chan Yung-jan

By Tony Phillips  /  Staff reporter

Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen pumps her fist during her singles victory at the OEC Taipei WTA Ladies Open yesterday.

Photo: Wang Yi-sung, Taipei Times

Taiwan’s Chang Kai-chen breezed into the semi-finals of the OEC Taipei WTA Ladies Open with a 6-0, 6-2 victory over second seed Olga Govortsova of Belarus yesterday evening.

Chang claimed the first set without facing a break point, and while the Belarussian managed to rally somewhat in the second, the world No. 54 was never able to get into the match.

Chang held her serve throughout, needing just over an hour to wrap up the contest on her first match point. However, it was a day to forget for 24-year-old Govortsova, whose cause was not helped by a shoulder problem that twice required attention from the trainer.

Chang showed no mercy to her current doubles partner, firing down three aces and only dropping her serve once. The 21-year-old world No. 100 hit the ball cleanly and clearly enjoyed the victory in front of her home fans.

Chang is only two wins away from becoming the first Taiwanese singles champion at the Taipei Arena since Chan Yung-jan in 2009, but she is not getting carried away.

“I haven’t thought about winning the tournament,” she said. “I’m taking one match at a time and I’m just happy that I won today.”

Chang now faces Misaki Doi of Japan for a place in the final after the seventh seed reached the last four without hitting a ball after defending champ Ayumi Morita was forced to withdraw from the tournament because of a knee injury.

“I think it’s going to be head-to-head, toe-to-toe, because she’s been doing well, as well,” Chang said of today’s clash with the Yokohama-born No. 7 seed.

Chang and Doi have both just enjoyed the best results of their careers. Doi reached the semi-final of the WTA tournament in Osaka last month, where Chang went one better in reaching the final, which she lost to Britain’s Heather Watson.

In yesterday’s first quarter-final, Japan’s Kurumi Nara beat Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan 6-3, 6-4. Nara’s consistency proved more effective than Diyas’ spectacular shot-making, but the 19-year-old Kazakhstani went down fighting, saving five match-points with some fierce hitting before sending a forehand into the net on the sixth.

Nara served well, retrieved tenaciously and conjured up the occasional impressive winner. In contrast Diyas was erratic, and while not afraid to go for her shots, many proved to be too ambitious.

Yesterday’s other singles quarter-final was also a one-sided affair, No. 4 seed Kristina Mladenovic of France needing only 57 minutes to down Japanese veteran Kimiko Date-Krumm 6-3, 6-0 to earn the right to meet Nara today.

Chang and Govortsova teamed up in the doubles for yesterday’s last match, winning their quarter-final showdown against Caroline Garcia of France and Irina Khromacheva of Russia 6-7 (7/5), 6-3, 10-5.

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