Monday, 27 February 2012

Cricket star in KL to support wife Sania

CRICKET fans will be in for a treat at tennis' BMW Malaysian Open.
Former Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik arrived yesterday with wife Sania Mirza in Kuala Lumpur where he will be at centre court to watch her compete for honours in the tournament.
With Shoaib at her side, Sania will be inspired to make a lasting impression at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club
"My focus is on the doubles ahead of the Olympic Games. However, I also want to make inroads in the singles here.
"This tournament is part of my preparation for the Olympics, where I stand a good chance of a medal in mixed doubles (with Mahesh Bhupathi)," said Sania in an e-mail interview yesterday.
"KL is one of my favourite cities and I am looking forward to a good run here. I played here twice, once in exhibition matches and the other in the Fed Cup Qualifiers."
The World No 113, however, has not been performing in the singles since her last victory, seven years ago in Hyderabad but the signs are she is rediscovering her form following her surprise run to the quarter-finals of the recent Pattaya Open.
"I am still trying to build up my confidence. Yes, I have done better in doubles and I think the three surgeries I've had in the last four years have made it difficult for me to perform consistently in singles."
The 26-year-old, a crowd favourite in Kuala Lumpur, will face Greece's Eleni Daniildou in the opening rounds today.
Sania, who is one of India's poster girls, tied the knot with Shoaib two years ago but marriage has not stopped her from pursuing a career in tennis. She, however, did contemplate quitting the sport but decided against it.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Polish beauty aims for back-to-back titles

BMW Malaysian Open top seed Agnieszka Radwanska will be hoping to win back-to-back WTA titles at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Club.
Radwanska won the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championship yesterday after defeating Julia Goerges of Germany 7-5, 6-4 to claim her eight WTA title.
The 22-year-old Pole did not have much time to celebrate as she had to catch the next flight out to Kuala Lumpur.
"I don't have much time now. In three or four hours I have a flight to Kuala Lumpur," she said after her triumph in Dubai and an obvious reference to the BMW Malaysian Open. "Everything is pretty last minute. But I think it's a good problem!”
As a result of her win in Dubai, Radwanska will move up a rank into World No.5 when the new standings are released tomorrow (Monday).
"It's great, but it's still far from being No. 1. It looks pretty close, but it's still far. But I'm not really going to think about it too much. I'm going to keep playing my game and try to keep up my good tennis, especially in big events like this. I just want to enjoy my tennis and try win matches."
And come March 4, Radwańska will be looking for an early birthday present ( she turns 23 on March 6) as she aims to add the BMW Malaysian Open to her win in Dubai.
She has reached five Grand Slam quarterfinals, becoming the first Polish woman in the WTA to do so. But it is winning a Grand Slam that she aspires the most.
Radwanska who aspires to win a Grand Slam title and lists Pete Sampras as her all time favourite tennis player because he has won everything there is to win in tennis.
“My goal in life is to win a Grand Slam title and in order to do that I need to be playing consistently well in a tournament,” said Radwanska.
“That is why I admire Sampras for he has won everything there is to win in tennis and I really respect that feat he has achieved.”
In 2008, she became the first Polish female tennis player to surpass US$1 million in career prize money.
She started playing tennis at the tender age of 4, introduced to the sport by her father Robert who still has a hand in coaching her till today.
A baseliner that favours playing on grass, Radwanska is pursuing studies in Tourism at the Polish Sports University in Krakov.
Radwanska hits consistently on both the forehand and the backhand sides. Her favorite shot is her forehand, particularly the inside-out forehand.
She is also very accurate with the drop shot and lob, and relies on tactical accuracy and patience in constructing the point before hitting a winner.
Radwanska opens her BMW Malaysian Open campaign against Akgul Amanmuradova of Uzbekistan.The Pole is in the same half as defending champion Jelena Dokic and tournament fourth seed Jarmila Gajdosova, both from Australia.
Entrance to the BMW Malaysian Open is free until Wednesday. For more information on the tournament, visit

Jawariah shown the exit

JAWAIRIAH Noordin became the first local to win a set in the BMW Malaysian Open but the 22-year-old still went home a loser yesterday.
The 22-year-old was defeated 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 by Japan's World No 387 Shuko Aoyama in the first round of the qualifiers.
Jawairiah, however, could have done better had she been fitter. The other factor that affected her play was that she suffered breathing difficulties after training on Monday.
The Penang-born struggled with her game in the third set, where she allowed Shuko to break her twice for a 4-0 lead before rain halted play for nearly one hour.
When play resumed, Jawairiah broke twice to reduce the deficit before Shuko sealed the match.
"I could have won if my fitness was better. I trained only two months for this event," said Jawairiah at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club.
"I need to improve my fitness to go far in this sport. I believe this defeat will motivate me to train harder for upcoming tournaments."
On her breathing difficulties, Jawairiah said: "I was on drips at the Penang Hospital but the doctor cleared me on the same day."
Malaysia's campaign officially ended after Choo Lyn Yuen was thrashed 6-0, 6-2 by Ukraine's Tetyana Arefeva. It was Lyn Yuen's first ever experience on the tour.
"I did not make many mistakes but my opponent killed me off with her power and speed. I need to toughen up," said the Form Four student of SMK Batu Lintang.
She said: "It was a good experience but it could be my first and last tour match as I do not want to turn professional. I intend to join my sisters in the United States."

Tough challenge for Jelena

DEFENDING champion Jelena Dokic has been handed a tough challenge after she was drawn in the top half of the BMW Malaysian Open along with Poland's World No 6 Agnieszka Radswanska.
When asked about the draw, Jelena joked: "Defending the title is harder than winning it.
"I don't usually look at the draw. Players only look at their first match and it's the same for me. I want to focus on my first round match before looking ahead," said the seventh seed at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club yesterday.
Jelena play France's Kristina Mladenovic in the opening round tomorrow.
She defeated Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in last year's final before reaching the final of the Hertogenbosch Open but her performance has slumped since then.
"It's not fair to say I did not perform up to expectations. I battled a shoulder injury for six months but I am glad it is back to normal.
"Of course I want to do well in Kuala Lumpur again but as I said, it's best not to think too far ahead," Jelena added.
Others in the top half of the draw are Australian top seed Jarmila Gajdosova and crowd favourite Sania Mirza of India.
Jelena is expected to face Jarmila in the quarter-finals and assuming she wins, the Australian will likely meet Agnieszka in the last four.
The World No 74, however, should have an upperhand over Europe-based players in terms of the weather as she came to Kuala Lumpur from Australia, where it is summer.
World No 14 Jelena Jankovic will lead the charge in the bottom half of the draw, where the Serbian, who will turn 28 on Tuesday, faces France's Carolina Garcia in the first round.
The second seed is drawn to play Japan's sixth seed Ayumi Morita in the quarter-finals and China's third seed Peng Shuai in the semi-finals.
Barring upsets, the final could serve a rematch of the Dubai Championship semi-finals between Agnieszka and Jelena, which the Polish won 6-2, 2-6, 6-0 on Friday.

Agnieszka, Jelena to the rescue

TOP seed Marion Bartoli and former World No 1 Venus Williams have withdrawn from next week's BMW Malaysian Open.
Marion cited injury as her reason while Venus is still struggling with illness.
The tournament, however, will not lose its glitter as tournament organiser, Carbon Worldwide, has secured Poland's World No 6 Agnieszka Radwanska and Serbia's former World No 1 Jelena Jankovic as their replacements.
They are expected to jet straight to Kuala Lumpur from the Middle East, where they are presently competing in the Dubai Open.
Agnieszka and Jelena, the World No 13, will be the top two seeds with the latter replacing China's World No 17 Peng Shuai as the second seed.
The 22-year-old Agnieszka, whose younger sister Urszula also plays on the tour, has won seven career titles. It will be her first visit to Kuala Lumpur.
As for Jelena, who defeated Australia's US Open champion Samantha Stosur in the quarter-finals of the Dubai Open on Thursday, she was a World No 1 for only a week in 2008.
The 27-year-old has won 13 career titles and her best achievement in a Grand Slam was reaching the final of the 2008 US Open.
Jelena is determined to regain her former status after several promising performances this season.
Malaysia's Jawairiah Noordin and Choo Lyn Yuen will both begin their campaign today in the qualifying round.

'Do it because you want it'

FORMER World No 7 Barbara Schett singled out goal-setting and exposure as the key points for players wanting to make a successful professional career in tennis.
"Players need to set goals and must be consistent with training but most importantly they must do it willingly.
"It is important to push yourself but make sure you are doing it because you want it and not for other people," Barbara told Timesport during the recent Australian Open in Melbourne.
"Exposure at a young age is important. I started at three and, at 14 or 15 I played my first grand slam at the French Open.
"I did not do well but my failure made me more motivated to train and try harder.
"Training is the key for players. I used to train for six or seven hours a day including on-court practice, gym sessions and conditioning.
"A person needs to love tennis in order to stay focused as it is a fulltime job."
Barbara's advice should be noted by local players, Jawairiah Noordin and 16-year-old Choo Lyn Yuen, who both will play in the BMW Malaysian Open which starts with the qualifying round today.
Jawairiah's best result since turning professional in 2007 was reaching the semi-finals of the ITF Surakata Open four years ago.
The 22-year-old, however, has not made any impact in international events except for the team event bronze medals at the 2007 and 2009 Sea Games.
As for Lyn Yuen, who won the 2010 Brunei Junior Championships, she will be making her maiden appearance in a WTA Tour event at the Malaysian Open.
"Players must learn from each failure and make adjustments to move forward.
"My advice to them is to give their best shot in the tournament," said the 36-year-old.
Barbara said local tennis federations must also support their top junior players.
"Players need the funding to cover their training and competition expenses but of course, parents must also do their part.
"When I was a junior, my tennis was funded by the Austrian federation until I was about 18 and 19 and after that I was on my own.
"It was not hard for me as I was always the No 1 in my age-group," added Barbara.
Barbara, who won 13 tour titles in both singles and doubles before retiring in 2005, is now a Eurosport presenter.

Friday, 24 February 2012

Venus and Bartoli have withdrawn

Newsflash (Exclusive):Former World 1 Venus Williams and Marion Bartoli have withdrawn from next week's BMW Malaysian Open. Organisers, Carbon Worldwide, however, has secured World No 6 Agnieszka Radwanska and No.13 Jelena Jankovic as their replacements. Agnieszka is the new top seed. The draw will be conducted tomorrow. 

BMW Malaysian Open: Activities

List of activities happening this weekend.

Sat. 25 Feb - 10am: First round qualifying matches
12.30 pm – 1.30 pm: Mini tennis session with event partner, Jetstar - KLCC Park (opp Chinoz & Dome)
3.00 pm – 5.00 pm: Main draw ceremony and press conference

Sun, 26 Feb- 10.00am: Second round qualifying matches
10.00 am – 11.30 am: Kids from St Barnabas Home and Community Centre (Malaysia) to join event partner Jetstar for a tennis clinic with WTA players - followed by an autograph signing session.

* Venue - Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club

Marion aims to get back on track

MARION Bartoli is in a deep slump following back-to-back setbacks in the Middle East but the Frenchwoman is determined to bounce back in next week's WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open at Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Club.
The former Wimbledon finalist was on the road to having her best ever season after reaching a career-high ranking of No 7 last month.
She celebrated her breakthrough by reaching the final of the Paris Indoors but bowed out to Germany's Angelique Kerber 6-7 (3-7), 7-5, 3-6.
The following week in Doha, the 28-year-old reached the semi-finals against Australia's Samantha Stosur but had to retire with a right calf injury after losing the first set 6-3. And two days ago at the Dubai Championships, an unfit Marion lost 6-4, 6-3 to China's World No 17 Peng Shuai in the first round.
Marion was the second seed in her Malaysian Open debut but was ousted by the Czech Republic's Lucie Safarova in the quarter-finals. She is the top seed for this year's edition.
"I will try my best to do better this time in Kuala Lumpur. I don't think the hot weather will affect me, In fact, I've played some of my best tennis in humid conditions,"
On breaking into the top-eight for the first time on the tour, Marion said she is proud of her achievement.
"Of course I don't want to stop there. It's just a number to me, and I don't want to give myself any limits. I want to keep working hard on and off the court to do even better.
"I have beaten lot of great players, so I hope I will keep rising up the rankings.
"The key is to train at a high intensity and at the same time avoid getting injured but it's a hard task," said Marion, who has won seven tour titles. -NST

Different missions for duo

JAWAIRIAH Noordin and Choo Lyn Yuen are raring for action in the BMW Malaysian Open qualifiers with the former aiming to become the first local player to win a match in the tournament which starts on Saturday.
It will be Jawairiah's second appearance in the tournament following her 6-2, 6-2 defeat to Kyrgyzstan's Ksenia Palkina in the first-round qualifiers at the inaugural event two years ago.
The 22-year-old earned one of the two local wild cards for this year's edition by winning a recent trial.
The Penang-born is determined to resurrect her career in the Malaysian Open. "I want to be the first local player to win a match in the Malaysian Open. It does not matter if I only manage a win in the qualifiers," said Jawairiah yesterday.
"It is tough to gauge my form as I did not get a single good match at the local trial, but I have been training hard and, hopefully, it will be enough to achieve something in this tournament."
Jawairiah added: "I am aware it is a little late to make a career out of the sport at 22 but I am willing to take the risk before I retire in five years' time."
As for Lyn Yuen, the 16-year-old will officially make her WTA Tour debut in the qualifiers on Saturday.
She has been training three to four hours a day for the tournament.
"I need to be fearless to make an impact. It will be a good experience for me and I hope to learn from the top professionals," she said.
Lyn Yuen is the last Malaysian to win a sanctioned international event, which she achieved two years ago at the Brunei Junior Championships.-NST

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Ariez wants to keep winning

KUALA LUMPUR: The tables have turned in local men’s tennis scene.
New national No 1 Ariez Elyaas Deen Heesham (pic) defeated his predecessor Si Yew Ming to take the national circuit title at the Jalan Duta Tennis complex yesterday.
“It feels good to win the title. I tried twice last year but failed. Yew Ming had been dominating the scene for several years before this.
“I didn’t think about winning the title at the beginning but grew in confidence as I progressed in the tournament,” said Ariez.
The 19-year-old feels a lot better now than he did last year as he had been working on his mental strength over the last few months.
“I’m mentally composed more than ever. I just have to stay this way. Physically, I’m stronger too.”
Ariez defeated Yew Ming 6-4, 1-6, 6-3. He will next play at the Singapore Challenger this weekend.
Meanwhile, Yew Ming was lost for words after his loss but admitted he had not played his best.
“I don’t know what to say. I didn’t play well and must improve next time,” he said. - Malay Mail

Theiviya makes winning return

S. THEIVIYA made a grand return to competitive tennis by winning the women's title in the first leg of the National Circuit in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
In her first tournament since last June, Theiviya, the daughter of former national No 1, S. Selvarajoo, edged Thailand's Kamonwan Thongsaner 7-5, 6-3 in the final. The 18-year-old earned RM1,200 for her efforts while Kamonwan received RM600.
Theiviya came close to winning a second title but fell short in the doubles final when she and R. Archnaah went down 7-6 (8-6), 3-6, 10-8 to Rano Nizamova-Siti Aishah.
In the men's singles final, top seed Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam defeated reigning national champion Si Yew Ming 6-4, 1-6, 6-3 in a tough three-hour battle. Ariez Elyaas received RM4,000 while Yew Ming earned RM3,000.
In the doubles final, Abdul Hazli Zainuddin-Ahmad Deedat beat Ashaari Zainal-Syed Aqil Syed Naquib 7-5, 6-2.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Theiviya on course for a double

S. THEIVIYA is one step away from winning the singles and doubles competitions in the first leg of the National Circuit.
In her first tournament since last June, Theiviya, the daughter of former national No. 1 S. Selvarajoo, demolished Singapore’s Olivia Koh 6-0, 6-3 to reach the singles final, where she plays Thailand’s Kamonwan Thongsaner, who upset second seed Ti Jia Wei in three sets.
In doubles, Theiviya and partner R. Archnaah play Uzbekistan’s Rano Nizamova and Siti Aishah for the title today.
In the men’s singles, top seed Ariez Elyaas Deen Heshaam and Si Yew Ming will battle it out for the crown.
The competition, which started on Feb 17, saw several surprising results including the third round match between Davis Cup player Ahmad Deedat, who also played in last year’s ATP Malaysian Open and 42-year-old V. Selvam, which the latter won 6-4, 1-6, 15-13.
However, Selvam was beaten by his academy’s coaching partner Nge Hnaung 6-1, 6-2 in the fourth round.
Selvam, the former national No 1 and once a professional, did not play much tennis last season due a knee injury

Sweet double for Hao Sheng

Koay Hao Sheng dominated proceedings in the boys’ category of the SportExcel Leg One competition in Kuala Lumpur recently.
Hao Sheng defeated Talhah Rahizam, the son of former national coach Rahizam Rahim, 7-5, 6-0 in the boys’ singles final.
In the semi-finals, Hao Sheng hammered Sheikh Ameer Sheikh Ahmad 6-0, 6-1 while Talhah edged Muhd Khairil Anas Abdul Rahim 4-6, 6-4, 6-4.
Hao Sheng partnered Khairil to lift the doubles title, where they easily defeated Sheikh Ameer-Talhah 6–1, 6 – 3.
In the girls’ singles final, Yus Syazlin Nabila Yusri defeated Nurin Nabila Roslan 7-5, 6 – 4.
In the semi-finals, Yus Syazlin ousted Samantha Jane Chin Mei Yee 6 – 0, 6 – 1 while NurinNabilah thrashed Loo Shi Pei 6 – 0, 6 – 1.
Yus Syazlin paried up with Nurin Nabilah in doubles, where they notched an easy 6-3, 6-1 win over Aida Hereena Hairy Anuar-Shi Pei.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Jawariah to provide short-term plans to NSC

KUALA LUMPUR: National Sports Council (NSC) are now willing to accept Jawariah Nordin’s training programme, even if the plan is not for a full year. NSC had initially insisted on a year-long plan which the national No 1 was not able to provide.
According to NSC programmes committee chairman Arrifin Mohd Ghani, they will now accept periodic calendars from Jawariah.
Jawariah was unable to provide the year-long schedule as the WTA1000s calendar are only released every three-four months.
The fact she’s been struggling to find her own sponsors makes her plight even worse.
“We have had a meeting with her and her dad, Noordin Omar regarding this. We agreed it would be possible if she could come up with a draft programme for even six months,” said Arrifin.
“Our tennis liaison officer Sukhdev Kaur Hans has already contacted Jawariah, asking her to get back to us soon. We will consider her plan.”
Jawariah has not played many tournaments because of her sour ties with the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) in 2009. Since then she has dealt with NSC directly.
“We allocated RM100,000 for her last year but she changed her mind and didn’t want to compete in some tournaments. Maybe, it was also due to Sukma and fasting month,” added Sukhdev.
Jawariah has returned to Penang to train with her dad and brother, Muhammad Noor Nordin, for the WTA Malaysian Open later this month. She earned one of the two qualifiers wild card by upstaging the other national players in the trials last week.
Choo Lyn Yuen took the other wildcard. - Vijhay Vick (Malay Mail)

More woes for national No.1

KUALA LUMPUR: NATIONAL No. 1 Jawariah Noordin has not played many tournaments since 2009.
While this is partly due to her falling out with the Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) another contributing factor is that she is struggling to find sponsors to fund her.
Even National Sports Council (NSC), who had previous stated that they will back Jawariah, had not been of much help.
“Although I was based in NSC after the Malaysia Games, I had nothing to do. I did not have any coach nor a plan,” said Jawariah.
“NSC had wanted to see the WTA1000 calendar for this year but problem is the women’s tour does not have a yearly one and releases it every few month.”
Jawariah had tried explaining this to NSC but it has only fell to deaf years as she claims NSC still insist on seeing a yearly calendar before allocating funds for her.
Such is a sad state of affairs for a player, who despite lack of proper training and participation in tournament since 2009, is still the national No. 1.
“I can only take part in the national circuit!” said a disappointed Jawariah.
Due to her age, the 22-year-old also can’t compete in the Sportexcel tournaments. This is unlike the players under the elite programme as they are all in their teens.
Despite all this, Jawariah still managed to show the elite players her class as she brushed them aside in the WTA Malaysian Open national trials. As a result she will compete in the tournament for the second time.
Jawariah has since opted to go back to Penang to train under her father Noordin Omar and brother Muhammad Noor Noordin.
She will return to participate in the women’s tour event at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort from Feb 27-March 4. However Jawariah along with Malaysia’s other wildcard entry Choo Lyn Yuen will have to do the impossible and clear the qualifying rounds on Feb 25-26. -Vijhay Vick (Malay Mail

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Jawariah and Lyn Yuen earn wild card

JAWARIAH Noordin and Choo Lyn Yuen will represent the country in the WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open.
They earned the tournament’s two local wild cards after finishing first and second in a five-day round-robin trial, which ended yesterday, at the National Tennis Centre (NTC) in Kuala Lumpur.
It will be Jawariah’s second appearance in the tournament following her first round exit in the qualifiers at the inaugural event two years ago. She did not play in last year’s edition.
As for Lyn Yuen, the 16-year-old will be making her first ever appearance in a high-level WTA tournament.
The third edition of the Malaysian Open is scheduled from Feb 27-March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Club.
Jawariah defeated Adele Boey (6-0, 6-0), Alyssa Boey (6-2, 6-2), Yus Syazlin (6-4, 6-4), Nurin Nabila (walkover), Lyn Yuen (7-6, 6-4) and Aslina Chua (6-2, 6-1). The 22-year-old, however, conceded a walkover to Ti Jia Wei on the final day but topped the standings.
“I felt unwell and subsequently withdrew from today’s (yesterday) match. I am happy to earn a wild card but it will be tough for me as I have not played a tour event since 2010,” said Jawariah at NTC yesterday.
“I have started training fulltime in Penang in December and I hope to re-start my WTA career this season through the assistance of the National Sports Council (NSC).“
Jawairiah said:”I am aware that it is a little late to make a career out of the sport at 22 but I am willing to take the risk before retiring in five years time.
“My idol is China’s Li Na and I hope to emulate her one day. As for preparing for the Malaysian Open, I will train under my dad (Noordin Omar) in Penang.
Lyn Yuen, who won the singles and doubles titles at the 2010 Brunei ITF Junior Championships, said she will train hard for the tournament.
“I was not expecting anything as I only played in the trial for experience. It is good motivation to finish second in it, as all the best players were competing for the wild card slots,” said the Kuching-based player.
The Malaysian Open will gather some of the top draws in the women’s game and among the confirmed players are the United States’ former Grand Slam winner Venus Williams, France’s World No 9 Marion Bartoli, China’s Asian No 2 Shuai Peng and Japan’s Ayumi Morita.

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Hao and Yus win impressively in Vietnam

MALAYSIA’S Hao Sheng Koay and Yus Syazlin Yusri won three titles between them at last month’s ITF Asia 14 & Under Development Championships (Division 2) in Vietnam.
Sheng Koay was unseeded in the boys’ singles but the youngster turned the tables on his more illustrious rivals to win the title.
He defeated Singapore’s top seed Raahli Divyesh Doshi 6-2, 7-5 in an exciting match.
In the doubles final, Sheng Koay partnered Khairil Anas to win the title by edging a Malaysian and Singapore combination of Talhah Rahizam and Raahli 6-4, 7-5.
Yus Syazlin, the top seed, justified her seeding by lifting the girls’ event. She defeated Sri Lanka’s second seed Waduge Nethmie 6-0, 6-4.
Vietnam’s Nguyen Thu Phuong-Nguyen Tiffany Linh overcame Waduge-Issadeen Fathouno 6-0, 6-4 in the doubles final.
The tournament attracted 13 nations, totaling 62 participants.
The championships consisted of two tournaments and the feed-in consolation format was used, resulting in players from participating nations of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Singapore, Sri Lanka, and hosts Vietnam playing matches every day.
There was also a West Asian team comprising players from Syria, the United Arab Emirates, Iran and Jordan.
According to the new format introduced to Division Two for the first time this year, country rankings at the end of the event were based on the best three results in singles and best three results in doubles.
Following the new format ITF Players are also eligible to achieve a country ranking and their points are counted on the same basis.
The points system determines who qualifies to be on the Division Two ITF Team that will participate in the Asia U-14 Development Championships Division One event to be held in March in the Philippines.
ITF Development Officer for Asia, Suresh Menon, was very impressed with the Vietnam Tennis Federation and Ho Chi Minh City Tennis Association for successfully organising the event.
Following the new format this year, Malaysia were promoted to Division 1.

Zheng Jie, Dominika set to join star-studded cast

CHINA'S two-time Grand Slam doubles champion Zheng Jie and Slovakia's World No 15 Dominika Cibulkova could add to the star-list of this month's WTA Tour BMW Malaysian Open.
Tournament organiser Carbon Worldwide has approached both players and according to sources, they are interested to make their debuts in the tournament.
Czech Republic's World No 28 Lucie Safarova, last year's finalist, is also among the players short-listed to take up one of the four available wild card slots
"We have approached six players for the wild cards and so far, only Venus Williams has accepted one," said a source.
The event, at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort, is on Feb 27-March 4. France's World No 9 Marion Bartoli and China's Peng Shuai are the top two seeds.
Others in the list are Croatia's World No 55 Petra Martic, Britain's Anne Keothavong (73), Greece's Eleni Danilidou (86) and Thailand's Tamarine Tanasugarn (93).
Malaysia will not be represented in the main draw once again.
The Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia (LTAM) will hold a trial to pick two players for the qualifying.

1 Marion Bartoli (Fra), 2 Peng Shuai (Chn), 3 Ayumi Morita (Jpn), 4 Petra Martic (Cro), 5 Jelena Dokic (Aus), 6 Anne Keothavong (Bri), 7 Eleni Danilidou (Gre), 8 Bojana Jo vanovski (Srb), 9 Tamarine Tansugarn (Tha), 10 Irina Bre mond (Fra), 11 Venus Williams (USA), 12 Aleksandra Woz niak (Can), 13 Sania Mirza (Ind), 14 Akgul Amanmuradova (Uzb), 15 Misaki Doi (Jpn), 16 Casey Dellacqua (Aus), 17 Erika Sema (Jpn), 18 Laura Robson (Bri), 19 Caroline Robson (Bri), 20 Nina Bratchikova (Rus), 21 Yvonne Meusburger (Aut), 22 Kristina Mladenovic (Fra), 23 Kurumi Nara (Jpn), 24 Chang Kai-Chen (Tai). -NST

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

DoubleTree named official hotel yet again

DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur has been named the official hotel for BMW Malaysian Open for two consecutive years.
The hotel unveiled its specially-tailored room packages for the women's tennis competition priced at RM390++ for a night in the guest room category and RM550++ per night for the executive room category. The packages include breakfast for two, two tickets to the semi-finals and finals, and return transfers from the hotel to the game venue.
It is available from March 1 to 4, with a minimum booking of a two- night stay.
DoubleTree by Hilton Kuala Lumpur general manager Ian Barrow said: "We are delighted to once again be given the opportunity to play host to some of the best players from the Women's Tennis Association. Our dedicated team will ensure that the players experience true Malaysian hospitality, are well rested and taken care of so that they can put up a good game for everyone."
The tournament will be held from Feb 27 to March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort. -NST

Dr Mahathir proposes Langkawi for Malaysia Open

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the patron of this year's BMW Malaysia Open, met event partners at a luncheon hosted by tournament organiser, Carbon Worldwide, last week.
BMW Malaysia managing director Geoffrey Briscoe, tournament director Keld Kristiansen and Lawn Tennis Association of Malaysia president Tan Sri Abdul Razak Latiff, were among the guests.
Dr Mahathir also presented signed framed certificates of appreciation to sponsors.
At the function, Dr Mahathir mooted the idea to move next year's edition to Langkawi.
"The tennis event will, in a way, further promote Langkawi as one of the nation's premium tourist destinations," said Dr. Mahathir.
"Organising the event on the island will definitely draw a lot of attention together with the Tour De Langkawi."
Asked on whether he played the game, Mahathir jokingly said he hadn't touched a tennis racquet for almost 70 years.
"I will do whatever I can as patron of the tournament," he added.
Briscoe said: "We are delighted to have Dr. Mahathir on board as patron and his support will augur well for the success of the tournament."
The Malaysia Open, a US$220,000 (RM 677,270) event, will be held at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort on Feb 27-March 4.
Among the confirmed names in the 32-player singles draw are former World No 1 Venus Williams, Australia's defending champion Jelena Dokic, France's World No 9 Marion Bartoli, China's Peng Shuai and India's Sania Mirza.

More top names for Malaysia Open

THE WTA Malaysia Open field continues to gain depth as organisers Carbon Media confirmed more top 100 players for the tournament.
Besides the big-name trio of Marion Bartoli, Peng Shuai (pic) and Venus Williams, the organisers have confirmed up and coming Croat Petra Martic for the event which will be held on Feb 27-March 4 at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian and Country Resort.
The 21-year-old is currently ranked no 55 in the world and is seeded fourth for the event. Having recently reached a career-high ranking of 47 last September, the lanky 1.81m croat will look to make her mark at the tournament.
Also in the list are Great Britain's Anne Keothavong (73), Greece's Eleni Danilidou (86) and the evergreen Tamarine Tanasugarn (93) of Thailand. Despite being at the latter stages of their careers, Danilidou and Tanasugarn, who are both former top 25 players, will have a wealth of experience to bank on.
Canadian Aleksandra Wozniak, who is currently just outside the top 100, is also confirmed for the event and after struggling with injuring her forearm at the 2010 US Open will look to recapture the form that took her to a career-high ranking of 21 in late 2009.
Joining Japanese third seed Ayumi Morita will be fellow up-and-coming compatriots Kurumi Nara, Erika Sema and Misaki Doi who will look to emulate Morita's consistent performances at the Malaysian Open where she reached the quarter-finals last year and the semi-finals the year before.
Peng Shuai, the second seed, who was upset by Iveta Benesova of the Czech Republic in the second round of the Australian Open , said would be using the Malaysian Open as part of her preparation for the London Olympics later this year.
“I have never been to Malaysia before and I am very excited to come to Kuala Lumpur. I heard great things about the country and the event and especially about the great atmosphere and the amazing fans," said Peng Shuai in a statement released by the organisers.
“I am looking forward to meeting my fans at the BMW Malaysian Open 2012 and to say that I am coming to Malaysia to play my best tennis and prepare for the Olympic Games later in the season and I hope to go all the way to the final and win the trophy at Kuala Lumpur" she added.

Main Draw Player list

1 BARTOLI, MARION (FRA), 2 Peng Shuai (CHN), 3 Ayumi Morita (JPN), 4 Petra Martic (CRO), 5 Jelena Dokic (AUS), 6 Anne Keothavong (GBR), 7 Eleni Danilidou (GRE), 8 Bojana Jovanovski (SRB), 9 Tamarine Tansugarn (THA), 10 Irina Bremond (FRA), 11 Venus Williams (USA), 12 Aleksandra Wozniak (CAN), 13 Sania Mirza (Ind), 14 Akgul Amanmuradova (UZB), 15 Misaki Doi (JPN), 16 Casey Dellacqua (AUS), 17 Erika Sema (JAP), 18 Laura Robson (GBR), 19 Caroline Robson (GBR), 20 Nina Bratchikova (RUS), 21 Yvonne Meusburger (AUT), 22 Kristina Mladenovic (FRA), 23 Kurumi Nara (JPN), 24 Chang Kai-Chen (TPE)

My experience at the Australian Open in Melbourne

Victoria Azarenka defeated Maria Sharapova 6-3, 6-0 for her first Grand Slam title.