Sun, Sep 21, 2014 - Page 20 News List

Cross-strait pair snatch victory in Guangzhou

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with reuters, GUANGZHOU, China

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

Reuters, TOKYO

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.

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