Chuang Chia-jung of Taiwan helped grab victory from the jaws of defeat yesterday to capture the Guangzhou International Women’s Open doubles title.
Chuang and her partner, China’s Liang Chen, lost the first set and then saved a match point at 5-6 in the second, before going on to defeat Alize Cornet of France and Magda Linette of Poland 2-6, 7-6 (7/3), 10-7.
The cross-strait duo saved four of nine break-point chances and converted three of 14 as their opponents served up eight double faults to complete the victory in 1 hour, 50 minutes, despite winning five fewer points.
The victory saw Chuang claim her 20th WTA Tour doubles title, while it was Liang’s first WTA Tour title of any kind.
In the singles final, Romanian Monica Niculescu overcame heat and fatigue to beat second seed Alize Cornet for her second WTA career title.
The world No. 60 rallied from 4-2 down in the first set to win 10 games in a row and beat her 22nd ranked French opponent 6-4, 6-0.
“I was so happy to finish in the end because it was very hot and very humid, and I was very, very tired,” Niculescu said after her win. “But to finish so strong was amazing for me. I have many emotions right now, but most of it is joy and confidence. It’s my second WTA title and that’s just an amazing feeling.”
Cornet, 24, struggled with her serve and committed 12 double faults against an opponent who had none.
The 26-year-old Niculescu had a great week at the US$500,000 event where she did not drop a set and lost just 17 games in five matches.
“I think it’s very tough to play against me because I put many balls back and run a lot and fight for every ball — I think in this heat and humidity it’s definitely not easy to play against me,” Niculescu said. “I had a good feeling about this tournament when I entered it.”
Pan Pacific Open
Ana Ivanovic overcame a slow start to beat top seed Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-3 in the semi-final of the Pan Pacific Open yesterday to set up a title clash with second seed Caroline Wozniacki.
World No. 10 Ivanovic, seeded third in the US$1 million event, was down 5-3 in the opening set, but went on to win 10 of the next 13 games to seal her victory against her eighth ranked German opponent.
“In the beginning it really took me some time to adjust to her game. It wasn’t like my previous matches,” Ivanovic said. “But once I adjusted and got more aggressive it started to go my way, and I’m really happy with the win today because she’s always such a tough and challenging opponent.”
The win boosts the former world No. 1’s bid to qualify for the season-ending WTA Finals in Singapore as it did for her opponent in today’s final.
Wozniacki, also a former top-ranked player, was the first to book her spot for the final after a tough match against an aggressive Garbine Muguruza.
The Danish player saved 19 of the 23 break points she faced in the match, including all nine in the first set, to win 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 against the 20-year-old Spaniard.
Muguruza gave it her all, hitting 53 winners in the match, but was hurt by the 50 unforced errors she committed.
Ivanovic is currently No. 8 in the race for Singapore, ahead of Wozniacki, and both are leading contenders for a spot in the five places left for the event.
Second-seeded Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic rallied from a set down yesterday to beat Russia’s Maria Kirilenko 4-6, 7-6 (7/5), 6-3 and reach the final of the Korea Open.
Pliskova hit 10 aces at Olympic Park Tennis Center to oust Kirilenko, who needed a wild-card to enter the tournament she won in 2008.
Kirilenko, a top-10 player last year, fell out of the top 100 this year after a knee injury kept her out of the first three months of the season.
Pliskova faces fifth-seed Varvara Lepchenko of the US in the final.
‘GREAT EVENING‘: In the women’s singles in Rome, Simona Halep and Karolina Pliskova advanced, while Rafael Nadal swept into the quarters in the men’s singles Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Friday had to dig deep to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome. The top seeds, who did not drop a game in their opening match on the clay courts at the Foro Italico, battled to a 7-6 (7/5), 6-4 victory over sixth seeds Veronika Kudermetova and Katerina Siniakova in 1 hour, 39 minutes. The reigning Wimbledon champions saved nine of 11 break points and converted three of eight, winning 56 percent of points on their second serve and sending down two aces
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
‘GREAT COMPETITOR’: Former French Open champion Garbine Muguruza was tested by American teenager Coco Gauff, before the Spaniard advanced in three sets Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Thursday cruised into the quarter-finals of the women’s doubles at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia by handing their Japanese opponents a rare “double bagel,” a feat matched by US Open losing finalist Victoria Azarenka in the women’s singles. Top seeds Hsieh and Strycova took just 49 minutes to see off the challenge of Japanese duo Nao Hibino and Makoto Ninomiya 6-0, 6-0 on the clay courts at the Foro Italico in Rome. The Taiwanese-Czech duo saved both break points they faced and converted six of 14, winning 62 percent of their first