Sun, Jun 28, 2015 - Page 20 News List

Taiwan’s Chan makes doubles final

CROWD-PLEASERS:After their Russian opponents withdrew, the cross-strait duo played an exhibition match on Centre Court involving Chan’s younger sister and fitness coach

By Dave Carroll  /  Staff reporter, with AFP, EASTBOURNE, England

Taiwan’s Chan Yung-jan and Zheng Jie advanced to the doubles final at the Aegon International in Eastbourne, England, on Friday when their semi-final opponents, second-seeded Russian duo Ekaterina Makarova and Elena Vesnina, withdrew.

The cross-strait duo, who have a 10-5 record this season, were due to face Caroline Garcia of France and Katarina Srebotnik of Slovenia, who have an 18-11 record, in the final late yesterday at Devonshire Park.

Chan is the reigning doubles champion after she teamed up with her younger sister, Chan Hao-ching, to defeat Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta in Eastbourne last year.

Chan Yung-jan has 12 WTA Tour doubles titles, while Zheng has 15. The only one they won together was in Kuala Lumpur back in 2010, although they were runners-up at the Australian Open earlier this year.

In the singles, double junior Grand Slam winner Belinda Bencic was aiming for the first WTA Tour title of her career after injured opponent Caroline Wozniack quit their semi-final after 13 minutes.

The second seed and former world No. 1 withdrew trailing 3-0 with back pains as a precaution, with Wimbledon starting tomorrow.

Wozniacki called for her trainer after the third game and following consultations with the tournament doctor decided to pack it in.

Switzerland’s Bencic, ranked 31st in the world, was due to face off against Agnieszka Radwanska, who reached the final for the first time since 2008 with a defeat of Sloane Stephens 6-1, 6-7(3/7), 6-2 in a windswept showdown.

Bencic was surprised at the sudden turn of events, with the 18-year-old saying she was more concerned about a minor knee problem she suffered during a fall the day before.

“This is definitely not the way I wanted to win, of course,” the 2013 Roland Garros and Wimbledon junior champion said. “I’m also a little bit disappointed we couldn’t play a proper semi-final. I didn’t know anything [about Wozniacki’s problem] before the match.”

Wozniacki is hoping to be ready for Wimbledon after her decision to quit the semi-final so as not to do any more damage to her back.

“I’ve had a slight back problem the whole week, basically. Today, it stiffened up more, and I felt like I couldn’t move the way I wanted to and felt pain,” the Dane said. “I felt really bad for the crowd and everyone who had come out, but there’s nothing really I could do about it”

Radwanska survived multiple momentum shifts in the wind against Stephens, but the Pole proved to be the more durable.

“I’m very happy to be in this final again,” the 26-year-old said. “It’s been a long time. Today, it was so tough with the wind, it’s the worst thing for players. It was a struggle form start to finish.”

Radwanska made a stand early in the match as she denied Stephens 10 break points in two service games before finally gaining control of the opening set.

In the second, the American’s level continued to fluctuate, with Stephens looking down and out before suddenly breaking as Radwanska served for victory. With the set reaching a tiebreaker, Stephens took her chance to level at one set each.

However, Radwanska again found a way through in the third, despite losing serve while leading 3-1. The seed broke back in the sixth game and closed out the challenging win on her second match point on a mishit which caught Stephens by surprise.

Radwanska ended with 19 unforced errors and 22 winners, while Stephens showed an aggressive attack, firing 40 winners, but making 43 unforced errors. The winner saved 12 of 15 break points.

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