Tuesday, 6 March 2012
Exciting show despite the rain
HE rain-hit BMW Malaysian Open turned out to be a memorable affair for Taiwan's Hsieh Su Wei, who, as a qualifier, won her first WTA Tour title at the Bukit Kiara Equestrian & Country Resort on Sunday.
Su Wei's victory was a perfect end to a tournament which was marred by continuous rain except on the final day of competition.
Even a 'bomoh' -- hired to stop the "skies from opening up" -- failed to stop the rain but, nonetheless, the event turned out to be an exciting affair for tennis fans.
The weather, as expected, caused a scheduling logjam forcing tour supervisor Pam Whytcross to push back matches, some that had not even started, to the following day.
It resulted in some players losing their momentum and form. Former World No 1 Jelena Jankovic was upset with the weather but, nevertheless, said she would return next year if invited.
The lengthy wait and cramped scheduling led to the withdrawals of several top players. Poland's top seed Agnieszka Radwanska and Japan's Ayumi Morita pulled out from their quarter-final matches due to injury while Croatia's Petra Martic succumbed to heat exhaustion in the final.
Carbon Worldwide, the tournament organiser, also suffered losses as it had to allow daily ticket holders to use their passes for the next day's proceedings without charging a sen.
Playing two games on the final day and both three-setters, took its toll on Petra, who was in tears after handing Su Wei the title.
The 21-year-old sought medical attention three times during the title match and finally signalled to the chair umpire that she couldn't continue in the sixth game of the third set.
Su Wei admitted that an element of luck played a huge role in her victory on Sunday. The 26-year-old, more of an accomplished doubles player, was leading 2-6, 7-5, 4-1 when Petra called it quits.
"I will remember the Malaysian Open for the rest of my life. It wasn't easy for me as I couldn't sleep upon arrival and had to play the very next day in the qualifiers," sad Su Wei, who climbed 45 rungs to World No 78 in this week tour rankings.
Compatriots Chan Kai Chen and Chung Chia Jung made it a grand double for Taiwan by winning the doubles title.
Su Wei next heads to Indian Wells where she will resume her partnership with China's Peng Shuai in doubles but will withdraw from singles.
Jawairiah Noordin and Choo Lyn Yuen were the local representatives but, as expected, both failed to clear their opening round qualifying matches.
The 22-year-old Jawairiah become the first local to win a set in the tournament in her 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 loss to Japan's Shuko Aoyama.
Tournament director Keld Kristiansen (pic) was impressed with Jawairiah's performance.
"She has good strokes and I believe, she can go far if exposed accordingly," said Kristiansen.
Carbon Worldwide, however, could have done better in terms of marketing its event to the public.
The media and fans were left frustrated as promotional activities left a lot to be desired.
The Malaysian Open has the potential to become one of the premier sporting events in the country if marketed properly.
Those concerned need to work harder to ensure next year's event, which could be moved to Langkawi, is bigger and better.